Protection of nomadic tribes: NHRC stress on need for implementation of the Idate Commission report

The commission also maintained that the government must act to repeal the Habitual Offenders Act, 1952

January 20, 2024 07:03 am | Updated 09:41 am IST - New Delhi

A family of nomadic ‘Gangireddula’ tribe, with its child atop the decorated bull called ‘Gangireddu’, which is the sole source of livelihood for it, in Hyderabad. File photo

A family of nomadic ‘Gangireddula’ tribe, with its child atop the decorated bull called ‘Gangireddu’, which is the sole source of livelihood for it, in Hyderabad. File photo

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Friday stressed on the need to implement the Idate Commission report that has recommended for setting up a permanent commission for Nomadic, Semi Nomadic, and De-Notified Tribes (NTs, SNTs, and DNTs) in India.

The commission also maintained that the government must act to repeal the Habitual Offenders Act, 1952 and if not, the appointment of a representative of De-notified Tribe community with the nodal officers as stipulated in the Act. It also suggested the non-inclusion of DNTs/NTs/SNTs under the SC/ST/OBC and formulation of specific policies for the former, among many others.

Also Read | Expedite categorisation of denotified, nomadic, semi-nomadic tribes: House panel

These points were highlighted during an Open House Discussion on “Protection NTs, SNTs, and DNTs in India and forward trajectory”, organised by the NHRC. Commission member, Dnyaneshwar M. Mulay inaugurated the discussion in which other members including Rajiv Jain, Vijaya Bharati Sayani, Joint Secretaries Anita Sinha, and Devendra Kumar Nim participated.

Dr. Mulay said that De-Notified Tribes, Nomadic Tribes, and Semi-Nomadic Tribes also require proper means of livelihood and added that the colonial mindset about the De-Notified Tribes having “criminal tendencies” needs to change to ensure their human rights are not violated.

“Proper documentation of their identities needs to be speeded up so that they get the benefits of welfare schemes and the basic needs are provided to them. Hence the different stakeholders need concerted efforts and discussions to streamline the issues impacting their human rights,” he added.

Mr. Nim expressed concern over the issue of De-Notified communities lacking citizenship documents, which makes their identity invisible and causes hindrances in obtaining government benefits, constitutional, and citizenship rights.

The commission maintained that there is a need to identify challenges faced by the NTs, SNTs, and DNTs owing to the stigma imposed by the enactment of the Criminal Tribes Act, 1872 and later by the Habitual Offenders Act, 1952 and figure out a way to modify discriminatory provisions of the latter.

It also stressed on taking measures to discern hurdles endured by the communities in availing basic facilities such as education, employment, health care, and legal documents, among others.

“To suggest measures to mitigate all the uncovered challenges, ensure representation of De-Notified tribes in parliament, government institutions and higher education, and determine a way to proceed, especially for women and children,” the NHRC suggested.

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