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Tribal rights meet on Feb. 23

Ranchi, Feb. 7: Intellectuals fighting for tribal rights in Jharkhand have convened a two-day meeting in Ranchi from February 23 to discuss provisions of the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution.

The meet will be attended by representatives of various tribal groups from all the nine states — Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan, besides Jharkhand — that come under the Fifth Schedule. The second day of the meet will see the presence of Union tribal affairs minister V. Kishore Chandra Deo.

“We have been receiving reports of violations of provisions of the Fifth Schedule from different states. Hence, we have decided to convene this meeting, where actual issues will be brought up for debate and discussion by representatives of tribal groups,” said Stan Swami, a member of the organising committee.

The talks will be held at XISS and the organisers include cradle director Alex Ekka, Jharkhand Disom Party chief Shalkhan Murmu, All India Adivasi Mahasabha senior functionaries Vishwanath Tirkey and Raju Pahan, Jharkhand Jangal Bachao Andolan convener Sanjay Bosu Mullick and Swami.

Swami said the Indian Constitution provided for safeguards of tribal population in Scheduled Areas but governments in respective states did not care to implement these provisions in their letter and spirit. This neglect of constitutional provisions, he said, was happening for the last several decades and hence, an all-India meet was the need of the hour.

Land acquisition and displacement, participation of tribal groups in development, functions of Tribal Advisory Council and constitutional responsibility of governors in the Fifth Schedule states are some of the important issues that will be discussed during the two-day meet.

“In a state under the Fifth Schedule, the incumbent governor has to send at least an annual report on the situation of tribal people to the President. But, most do not care to do this. Jharkhand, too, is at fault sometimes,” Swami pointed out.

He claimed the Tribal Advisory Council had been dwarfed and its meetings were held just for the sake of formality. He said the governor in a scheduled state was empowered to run the council, but the chief minister often usurped that power. “We will point out all these violations to the Union minister,” the organising committee member added

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