People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 36

September 05, 2010

 AARM Congratulates Adivasis Of Niyamgiri


The Adivasi Adhikar Rashtriya Manch has issued the following statement after a meeting of its Central Committee held in New Delhi

THE Adivasi Adhikar Rashtriya Manch (AARM) demands that the central government immediately implement the Supreme Court guidelines to distribute the foodgrains free of cost to the poor instead of letting them get contaminated. However it warns the government against distributing foodgrains unfit for human consumption in the name of implementing the Supreme Court order. It is a shame that millions of tons of foodgrains are getting contaminated while millions of tribal children go to bed hungry. The foodgrains should be distributed as a priority in all tribal areas and hamlets. The AARM also demands implementation of the earlier Supreme Court order to ensure BPL cards to all adivasi families.

The AARM congratulates the adivasis of Niyamgiri, Orissa for their successful struggles against the Vedanta project which has resulted in the withdrawal of permission of the MOEF for the project. The hypocrisy of the Congress party on this issue can be seen from the fact that even while its general secretary Rahul Gandhi was claiming credit for the stoppage, the Congressp Sonia Gandhi was assuring the Andhra Pradesh chief minister that her party would give national priority to the Pollavaram project. This project will submerge 276 tribal villages, displacing a tribal population of over 1.86 lakhs and also land, including forest land of around 10,000 hectares. The adivasis in Andhra Pradesh including the Andhra Pradesh Girijan Sangham are fighting for the rights of adivasis against the project. The AARM demands that the project be stopped. It also expressed its solidarity with the struggle of the Kerala Kshema Samity against the Kerala High Court order for eviction of tribals from the land they had occupied in Wynad district. It welcomed the action of the Kerala government to give 50 crores in Wynad district to the administration to purchase land to settle landless tribal families

The AARM expresses its deep concern at the non-implementation of the forest rights act in most states. The high level of rejections, over 50 per cent in the country as a whole also is because of the refusal of the central government to amend the fatal flaw in the act which sets impossible conditions for other traditional forest dwellers (OTFD) large numbers of them scheduled castes to get their rights. The AARM has demanded that the government should amend the act on the lines of the private members bill moved by CPI(M) MPs which sets 25 years (one generation) as the condition for acceptance of claims. This is in tune with the earlier SC guidelines which set 1980 as the cut-off date for regularisation.

The committee strongly condemned the clinical trials being conducted on unsuspecting adivasis by pharma companies and their agents. The most recent example is from Andhra Pradesh. In Khammam, Nalgonda, Rangareddy and Mahboobnagar districts where poor people, mainly adivasis are being given 2000 rupees to become subjects in trial for heart drugs. These have severe side effects. It is shocking that neither the state nor central governments has stopped permitting such exploitation of tribals in these clinical trials.

The AARM made a review of the one week national campaign held in end July in which thousands of adivasis participated in twelve states. It decided to continue its campaigns and struggles for the implementation of FRA; against displacement and for land to landless tribals; tribals should get 26 per cent of profits of mining companies in iron ore, coal and bauxite mining areas; remunerative prices for minor forest produce and for coarse grains grown in many tribal areas; fill backlog in ST seats and vacancies apart from other demands at the state level.