India, February 2007
What one can see across the country is total violation of economic and human rights of the tribal communities by the industrial houses and mining companies, says Mr. P.V. Rajagopal who was part of the investigation team constituted by Government of India, Ministry of Panchayati Raj to look into the various violations prevailing in the tribal areas.
The latest bad news is from Chhattisgarh. The forest department has destroyed crops of 600 tribal families living in 8 villages of Kawardha district. This is the same old story where the tribals will cultivate land during the Monsoon and the forest department would destroy everything. This happens among a particular tribal community, called the Baigas. They are also called primitive tribes. This is an ongoing battle between forest department and tribals of India.
For instance, Village Barpali, situated about 25 K.M. away from Rourkela, there are two iron factories on both sides of this village. You will be shocked to see how people survive in this highly polluted village. Many are migrating and others are getting sick in such villages. This is a kind of corporate responsibility that you will experience if you happen to visit any of these villages.
Recently 12 Adivasis (tribals) were shot dead in Orissa; their crime was that they did not agree to give their land to industrial houses in order to build a steel factory.
The frustrating fact is that these all happen in a country where there is an Act (Scheduled Tribes recognition of Forest Rights Act, 2006) which supposed to settle the long-standing claims of the Adivasis on forest land and to give them a life with dignity
It is encouraging that organizations like Ekta Parishad implement programmes to generate pressure on government and also on the Land Commission through peaceful methods which include Cycle Yatra, Foot march, Rallies, Sit-in and protest.