(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
December 26, 2010
‘Grave Injustice Being Done to Tribal Communities’
ON December 21, while addressing a public meeting in Tamilnadu, CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat called for a time-bound commission to look into the anomalies in regard to the scheduled tribe communities and pointed out that there was a huge undercounting of their number.
“It is not just the question of numbers. Their right to a share of national resources is not recognised because of undercounting,” she said at a protest organised by the National Platform for Tribal Rights at Chennai.
Grave injustice was being done to the tribal communities all over the country because of the very complicated procedures involved in getting a scheduled tribe certificate. There were major anomalies in recognising these communities as tribes. The Supreme Court has also done injustice to them by its ruling that they would lose their benefits guaranteed under the constitution if they migrated to other areas, she said.
Rampant corruption and failure on the part of the government to provide them decent livelihood has been forcing the tribal community to migrate to other areas. “The policy of the government had betrayed its dual standards. Non-resident Indians are allowed to enjoy dual benefits, including dual citizenship. But the children of the tribal people are being deprived of ST certificates,” she alleged.
Brinda Karat also said the government has also not fulfilled its commitment of allocating funds for tribal sub-plan. The allocation should be Rs 23,000 crore for 2010, but only Rs 11,000 crore were allotted.
In some states, some communities were recognised as scheduled tribes, but across the border they were not entitled to benefits. The Gond community comes under Other Backward Classes in Uttar Pradesh while they enjoy the scheduled tribe status in Madhya Pradesh. Tamilnadu, she said, is a terrible example. The Malayali tribe is a scheduled tribe in all other districts, but not in Erode.
Tamilnadu Vivasayigal Sangam president K Balakrishnan said changes in the government did not end the problems of the tribal communities. “They are not able to get benefits because the government is denying them community certificates.”
Tamilnadu Tribal Association president P Shanmugam lashed out that Tamilnadu was the only state that has not implemented the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act 2006.
A large number of tribal people, including hundreds of women, from across the state participated and raised slogans in the protest action. The fact that Brinda Karat had joined with them, inspired the people.