- Published on Thursday, 11 August 2011 12:33
Chhattisgarh: International Indigenous Day In Jashpur, Chhattisgarh Celebrated
On August 9th, 2011, hundreds, braving the unfriendly monsoon weather, gathered in Jashpur District for the occasion of International Day of the World’s Indigenous People. Although there was a suggestion of “celebration” in the song, dance and hot, communal meals enjoyed by participants, locals clearly used this U.N. General Assembly-designated, “commemorative” day to shed light on the very real, living challenges adivasis face here in Jashpur.
A formal appeal to the Jashpur District administration drafted by IDWIP participants sheds light on the downtrodden state of democracy and administrative justice in Jashpur. An English translation of their appeal is provided below:
1. Elephants are coming from the jungle and destroying our homes. Monetary compensation alone will not solve this profound problem. Rather a holistic solution must be arrived at with the input of locals who are affected.
2. The Kharia and Birhor adivasis of Kunkuri and Tapkara have been deprived of their Scheduled Tribe status; on this an inquiry must be conducted so ST status will be restored.
3. The process of getting ST/SC residential certificates should be simplified. People should not be sent to Raipur and Ambikapur for inquiries and attestations; this can and should be done at the tehsil level according to regulations.
4. Our fundamental necessities of roads, water, and electricity must be met.
5. Professional examinations (PET/PMT) should be held transparently, and reservations should be maintained.
6. According to the specified admission operations of the state all vacancies in reservations for STs should be filled immediately.
7. The prevailing corruption in the District administration should be removed and injustices done upon sarpanches must be rectified.
8. Jashpur should immediately be joined to the existing railway lines.
9. In the Indian Constitution of 26 January 1950, as drafted by Dr. Bhabasaheb Ambedkar, there are 22 parts, 12 schedules and 395 articles, out of which the most necessary is article 32, which was meant for the empowerment of the Scheduled Tribes and Castes. Article 32 and all its contents should be fully implemented.
10. As accorded by article 170, land that has been purchased by non-tribals should be returned immediately to the adivasis.
11. The land, water, jungle and mineral resources of Jashpur will NOT be sold to any national or multi-national companies.
12. For the unemployed, cottage industries should be instituted and promoted.
13. The Forest Rights Act (2006) and all its provisions should be implemented immediately.
As a procession of at least 700 adivasis, mostly from Jashpur and some from neighboring Ambikapur, set sail from Balram Marj in Jashpur Town, women, often with babies slung over their shoulders, sang a locally apt tune, “Don’t oppress and divide us in the name of religion!” and a truly universal cry of indigenous peoples everywhere, “Ek tir, ek kaman sab adivasi ek saman (One bow, one arrow, all indigenous peoples are one)!” Once the energized lot reached the Maidan, sangathan representatives encouraged locals to “Rise up and reclaim the riches that have been taken from them!” The message hits home to the 7.4 lakh people of the district, as 6,022 Km2 of the Jashpur’s 6,092 Km2 land are under siege by Jindal Steel and Power, Vedanta, Monnet, and over 100 other industrialists. “Wake up, adivasis, mulnivasis, we have nothing to lose!” the gathering bellowed. Let’s fight corporate and administrative plunder today, so that in the future we can celebrate Jashpur as the place of thriving paddy, stunning wildlife, bountiful resources, and a rich adivasi tradition.
International Day of the World’s Indigenous People, Jashpur was organized and attended by members of: Adivasi and Mulnivasi Samaj Jashpur, Raji Parha Kuruk Oraon Samaj, Munda Samaj, Baiga Samaj, Karia Samaj, Kavar Samaj, Nagwanshi Samaj, Akil Bhartiya Gor Maha Sabha, Halba Samaj, Akil Bhaytiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad Chhattisgarh, Sawera Samaj, Kamar Samaj, Kandra Samaj, Birhor Samaj, Korwa Samaj, Muriya Samaj, Adivasi Mahila Maha Sangh, Jameen Bachao Sangarsh Samiti.