Andhra Pradesh

Tribals plan stir against SC order after lockdown

Tribal people, especially the educated youth, have taken strong objection to the Supreme Court quashing the order providing 100% reservation to Scheduled Tribe (ST) candidates for the posts of teachers in the schools in the Scheduled Areas and are on the warpath. They are mobilising support to take up a sustained agitation after the lockdown period.

They feel that it dilutes the basic rights of the tribal people and the special status accorded to the adivasis residing in the Fifth Schedule areas, as defined in the Constitution.

“The judgement clearly undermines the rights of the tribals, but we are unable to take it up, due to the lockdown. Once it is lifted we will represent to the Governor, who is the protector of the Schedule Five areas. Already, we have brought it to the notice of Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy and it is learnt that a senior IAS officer has been deputed to study the ground realities, so that a review petition can be filed,” said Araku MLA Chetti Phalguna.

The agency area in Visakhapatnam district spans over 6,200 sq km with 11 mandals of which at least nine are seriously affected by the influence of the CPI (Maoist). It has a population of over 10 lakh tribals.

There are around 200 high schools and about 600 primary schools with about 5,000 teachers all of whom, except for about 100, are from the tribal community.

‘Flawed judgement’

“This judgement is flawed, as it is based solely on Article 16 (4). One should acknowledge the far-sighted vision of the makers of the Constitution who drafted two exclusive schedules (Schedule V and VI) out of a total of 12 Schedules, for the tribals who represent just 8% of the population,” said former head of the Department of Anthropology, Andhra University, Prof. P.D. Satyapal.

According to V.S. Krishna of the Human Rights Forum, the motivation for the 100% reservation to local STs stemmed from Article 46 of the Directive Principles of the Constitution.

“Education for tribal children starts at home and in the hamlets and extends to schools. Every tribe has a distinct culture, language and dialect. Non-tribal teachers cannot relate to the root of the tribal students,” felt Prof. Satyapal.

Left wing extremism

For the tribal youth, recruitment in the education sector has been the main source of employment and it was visualised 20 years ago to do so, to keep the youth away from joining the Left Wing Extremists, and over the years it has been paying dividends, said a teacher in the tribal area, Krishnamurthi.

The object of the 100% reservation was to solve the perennial issue of absenteeism of teachers. Till date over 1,200 villagers were not connected by any form of roads, and tribal teachers who are well-versed with the terrain trek for miles, climb hillocks and cross streams to reach the schools, added Mr. Krishnamurthi.

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Printable version | Sep 20, 2021 2:36:40 AM |

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