//Rights book to make tribes law savvy

Rights book to make tribes law savvy


Jamshedpur, May 2: The indigenous people of the state, some of whom are unaware of their rights, can now have them at their fingertips.
Adivasi Adhikar Morcha (AAM), a front of over a dozen organisations fighting for the cause of the indigenous communities, will come out with “Adivasi Manifesto”.

The manifesto, a 24-page booklet highlighting the concerns of tribal society and listing their constitutional and legal rights, will be released tomorrow in Ranchi by Cardinal Telesphore P. Toppo.

Salkhan Murmu, convener of the front, said the effort would be the first step towards motivating tribals to fight for their rights provided in the Constitution.

“The manifesto is primarily aimed at socio-economic and political empowerment of tribals of the state and country as a whole. There are Dalit voices, backward class voices but it seems there is no voice for tribals. This is also an effort in that direction,” Murmu said.

The 24-page booklet describes how the Panchayat (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, as envisaged in the Constitution, was at stake due to the alleged anti-tribal attitude of the government. The booklet points out the provisions of the fifth and sixth schedule areas in at least nine states where the local governance should be controlled by tribals.

“But this is never implemented in spirit. The tribals, majority of whom are still ignorant due to several social, economic and political reasons, are being deprived of rights conferred constitutionally and legally on them,” the manifesto says.

The manifesto deals with Pesa, a feasible rehabilitation policy for tribals, their culture, language, Chhotanagpur and Santhal Pargana tenancy acts, provisions of the fifth and sixth schedule areas in several states, reservation and the issue of domicile.

The manifesto has questioned the “state government’s inability” to protect Pesa in the state following the high court order striking down total reservation for single posts in panchayat elections.

However, Murmu’s announcement that Toppo would release the manifesto tomorrow has sparked off a controversy with a sizeable section of leaders suggesting that the cardinal, “as a religious head and owing to the high international and national status that he enjoys,” should refrain from attending any function which has political overtones.