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India: Report Of 4th National Conference Of All India Adivasi Mahasabha

 

Held at Raipur dated 15th - 17th October 2011.

 

Struggle for Jal, Jungle and Jameen is the main task of the tribal movement today: A.B. Bardhan

 

In his inaugural speech before the delegates, observers, guests and the invitees to the 4th conference of All India Adivasi Mahasabha, comrade A.B.Bardhan, who is one of the pioneers of the foundation conference of this all India tribal organization in 1957, asked the young generation of the tribal youth who were present in a large number in the packed up conference hall named after Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh in the premises of Birsa Munda nagar (Vipra Sanskritik Bhawan), to make it as supreme task of tribal movement to fight for their rights over Jal, Jungle and Jameen which would be proved to be the real death nail for the protagonists of neo-liberalisation policies.

 

In many ways this 4thNational conference of Akhil Bhartiya Adivasi Mahasabha is of grand success. Mr. P.A.Sangma, the former speaker of the Parliament was the Chief Guest.

 

A.B.Bardhan, Dr. B.D.Sharma, Prof. Nandini Sunder, Adv. Sudha Bhardwaj, Hirasingh Markam, Netaji Rajgadkar, Chhatrapati Sahi Munda, B.P.S. Netam, G.R. Rana, senior advocate Kanak Tiwari in Chhattisgarh high court and Nandkumar Sai, Member of Parliament (RS) from Chhattisgarh were the special guests to the conference programme. They came with different socio - political perceptions and organizational interests, but on one point they were having common view that for the liberalization from their bondage and free development of nearly 10 crores of tribal people in the country, their struggle must be united and decisive. A.B.Bardhan called upon the people fighting for the cause of the tribals to form an All India Joint Struggle Committee to chalk out a joint programme for All India Action by the tribals. Mr. P.A.Sangma called upon the tribal youth not to think themselves inferior to others. They should be proud of their tribal identity and culture. What is needed today is to see that the tribal people are more and more educated as it is there in Mizoram. Mr. Nandkumar Sai in his address raised question what mainstream people recommend as better than the identity and culture of tribal people when we find that the urban society of today is now has become so much contaminated with crimes, corruptions and vulgar culture. We the tribals are yet free from this polluted environment in tribal world in their rural habitants. Only the poverty and illiteracy are the evils with us which we must fight against and for that united efforts are needed.

 

On 15th October 2011, a highly impressive tribal rally was organized which travelled through the streets of Raipur, the capital city of Chhattisgarh, with tribal cultural teams performing and dancing with their traditional dress who came all the way from Odisha and from Dantewada and Bastar districts of Chhattisgarh. The massive public meeting held at Gandhi Maidan was addressed by Dr. B.D.Sharma, Arvind Netam, President of Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha Janaklal Thakur, Sudha Bhardwaj, Nandini Sunder, freedom fighter and former MP from Raipur Keyur Bhushan and Manish Kunjam. The rally and the mass meeting were joined by many other tribal mass organizations and a few NGOs like Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha- Majdoor Karyakarta Samiti, Bharat Jan Andolan, Janshakti Sanghatan, Janadhikar Sanghatan, Ekta Parishad, etc. This was really a joint programme of the tribal organizations in Chhattisgarh who are more and more gathering around a recently built platform of struggling mass organizations named Chhattisgarh Bachao Andolan. Tribal rallies also came from Odisha, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh under the banner of Adivasi Mahasabha. Nearly 400 delegates who came from Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra also walked all the way of nearly 6km. from the railway station where from the rally started and ended at Gandhi Maidan.

 

Besides A.B.Bardhan, the delegate sessions of the conference held on 16th and 17th were addressed by P.A.Sangma, Dr. B.D.Sharma, Gondwana Gantantra party national president Hirasingh Markam and Nandkumar Sai among others. After the presentation of the work report of the Mahasabha by Manish Kunjam, twenty five delegates from the states spoke and gave reports of their struggles during last five years. They narrated how the corporate houses with the support of the state governments are trying to grab the tribal land and also destroying the forest. They also reported how the constitutional rights and the law legislated by the Parliament in favour of tribals are being violated for exploitation of the tribals as well as the natural resources from those areas which are situated in tribal areas. More than nine resolutions were passed including one named as RAIPUR DECLARATION which has called upon all the forward looking tribal organizations to come together for building up a national front of struggle by the tribals over a DEMANDS CHARTER. It has been decided by the conference to build up joint national campaign over the charter and finally by the end of year 2012 a massive tribal rally will be organized before the Parliament.

 

The conference was attended by 386 delegates from different part of the country. The break up is Chhattisgarh 167, Madhya Pradesh 29, Rajasthan 13, Kerala 24, Andhra Pradesh 48, Jharkhand 13, Himachal Pradesh 3, Gujarat 4, Maharashtra 12, West Bengal 43, Odisha 30. There were nearly 17 observers from some states. The conference elected a new national executive committee of All India Adivasi Mahasabha with Manish Kunjam as National President and Chhatrapati Shahi Munda from Jharkhand as National General Secretary. Others among the office bearers elected are C.R.Bakshi as Senior Vice President, Meghraj Tawad (Rajasthan), G. Demudu (AP), Ramnath Sarfe (CG), Mahavir Majhi(Jharkhand) as vice Presidents, Shankar Nayak (AP)and Sukhlal Gode (MP) as deputy general secretary, N. Rajan (Kerala) and Sivcharan Munda (WB) as secretaries. Pashupati Kol from Jharkhand has been elected as treasurer. One post for vice president has been kept vacant for Tamilnadu wherefrom no delegate could come due to elections of local bodies in the state during these days. One post for secretary has been kept vacant for Maharashtra which will be filled up after the state conference of Maharahstra Adivasi Mahasabha to be held soon.

 

Among the national executive members elected by this conference are Smt. Eshwari Resan and P. Prasad from Kerala, Ravindra Kumar, P.Venkateshwar and Kunja Sinu from AP, Smt. Janakibai and Bairagsingh Tekam from MP, Smt. Sadhna Meena and Babulal Kalasua from Rajasthan, Haldhar Pujari and Vasudeo Bhoi from Odisha, Laxmi Lohara, Anil Asur and Bhutnath Soren from Jharkhand, Gangadhar Namdeo Gedam and Namdeo Kannake from Maharashtra, Jitu Soren, Komal Sardar, Sanatan Kisku, Vishnu Pahan from West Bengal, Dharubhai Shamabhai Valavi from Gujrat, Rama Sodi, Nandaram Sodi, Smt. Kusum and Ramesh Gawde from Chhattisgarh and Prakashchandra Jha from New Delhi. For Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, one post for each in the national executive committee have been kept vacant to be filled up later. It is also decided to add in the committee three names one each from Assam, Manipur and Tripura afterwards.

 

The newly elected general secretary of the Mahasabha, Chattrapati Sahi Munda has declared that Jharkhand state will be the next venue of the National Conference of the Mahasabha when it is convened after three years. This offer was highly greeted by the delegates. There were two seminars organized during the conference over the subjects: Suppression of Constitutional Rights of the tribal communities and Neo-liberalization of economic policies and its impact on the tribal communities. In these highly successful seminars the speakers were P.A.Sangma, Dr. B.D.Sharma, Arvind Netam, B.P.S.Netam, Chhatrapati Sahi Munda, Nandkumar Sai, Sanjay Parate and Mumtaj Bharati. The proceedings of all the sessions were presided over by a Presidium elected which includes Manish Kunjam, smt. Eshwari Resan, Rama Sodi, Meghraj Tawad, G. Demudu, Namdeo Kannake, smt. Janakidevi, Jitu Soren and C.R.Bakshi. All the delegates and invitees have gone back to their respective states with new zeal and determination for more struggles.




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