No action on inclusion of proposals even after 26 years
HYDERABAD: Some 200 tribals launched an eight-day-long `satyagraha' under the banner of `Fifth Schedule Sadhana Committee', demanding inclusion of 805 non-scheduled tribal villages in the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution.
Spread across nine districts from Srikakulam to Adilabad, these habitations were denied inclusion in the Fifth Schedule originally. After a survey in 1980, the State Government sent proposals to the Centre for their inclusion but no action has been taken even 26 years later.
CPI State Secretary K. Narayana said his party would take up the issue and seek the support of other political parties and even prevail upon the Chief Minister to talk to the Centre. He regretted that 58 years after Independence, tribals still do not have access to health, education and essentials like drinking water, leave alone sanitation.
Appeal to tribals
Father Thomas Kotchery of the World Forum of Fisher Peoples and National Alliance of Peoples' Movements said the tribals were only fighting for their constitutional rights. Referring to the Nandigram firing, he said people had successfully stood up against the might of "5,000 armed policemen and about 1,200 goondas of the CPI (M). He asked the tribals to be prepared for sacrifices in their struggle for justice.
P. S. Ajay Kumar, convenor, Fifth Schedule Sadhana Committee blamed careless officials for the improper initial survey. "New habitations and those that officials found inaccessible were overlooked," he said.
Others who expressed their support to the satyagraha were Kavitha Kuruganti, Centre for Sustainable Agriculture, N.P. Swamy, National Centre for Labour, Bangalore and S. Jeevan Kumar, Human Rights Forum.