A large number of Adivasis from across the country participated in the National Adivasi Convention organised by the CPI(M) affiliated Adivasi Adhikar Rashtriya Manch here demanding the right to land, forests, livelihood and against discrimination.
A resolution demanding BPL cards for all Adivasi households, distribution of Scheduled Tribe certificates to all Adivasis, provision of public health and education facilities, criticising the non-implementation of the Forest Rights Act, and condemning the police repression, forcible land acquisition and consequent displacement was passed at convention.
Introducing the resolution, CPI (M) Polit Bureau member and Convention convener Brinda Karat criticised the failure and asked to implement the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. She decried the decrepit state of schools attached to residential hostels set up for Adivasi students and the poor hygienic conditions in these hostels which prevented Adivasi students from making the most of the minimal education facilities that governments have set up in tribal areas.
“How can children be able to study in such a pathetic situation when they have to fend off diseases like malaria and cholera that continually stalk the area around such schools?” she asked.
Ms. Karat also called on Adivasis to launch a powerful agitation to counter the continuing alienation of Adivasis from their lands. “Whether it be Bhubaneswar or Bombay, these cities came up on lands snatched from you,” she reminded the assembled Adivasis.
Addressing the convention, president of the Adivasi Manch and MP from Tripura Bajuban Riyan bemoaned that even 60 years after Independence, most adivasis continued to live beyond the poverty line.
After the resolution was adopted, speakers from various States related their experiences from the ground on a host of issues concerning Adivasis including health, education, plight of tribals trapped in between Maoist-State violence, police atrocities on forest dwellers, and budgetary allocation.
CPI (M) general secretary Prakash Karat, and Polit Bureau members Biman Bose and S. Ramachandra Pillai also attended the convention.