Friday 3 August 2012

Part 9: Ruling Castes' betrayal of Adivasis

By Waman Meshram, National President, Bharat Mukti Morcha

No implementation of the 5th Schedule of the Constitution

Before looking at the special rights granted to the Scheduled Tribes in the 5th Schedule of the Constitution and what betrayals ruling castes have indulged in by refraining from implementing the 5th Schedule, it is important to know and understand the history related to 5th Schedule. Everyone is aware of the fact that when British was preparing to leave India then they have worry about ensuring that law and order situation in this country does not suffer.

Due to this worry British had placed a condition before Indian leaders that before their leaving Constitutional Assembly must be constituted in India. We will not leave India without constitution being written. We will not transfer power.  The representatives elected to write Constitution must constitute constitutional assembly. Then in 1946 elections took place to the constituent assembly. When the elections were declared that time Congress was the largest political party in India. Gandhi was live that time and was leading Congress.  Congress declared that for Dr.Ambedkar not only the doors of Constitutional Assembly are closed but also its windows are closed for him, we will see as to how Dr.Ambedkar enters. Dr. Ambedkar was elected to the Constituent Assembly by Namoshudra people of Bengal.

Congress did not leave any seat for the adivasis to enter Constituent Assembly, if it did kept its doors open then adivasis leaders and officers are not aware of it. When Dr. Ambedkar was slapped with ban then there is no question of adivasis. Forget about adivasis, country largest community – OBC were not given the ticket of Constitutional Assembly by Gandhi and Congress nor did anyone was elected and sent. Even then adivasis and OBC people call Gandhi their messiah; indeed very surprising.

In spite of pressure from Congress people of Bengal elected and sent Dr.Ambedkar. The nation-wide agitation that Dr.Ambedkar organized is what led to the election of Dr. Ambedkar from Bengal. Namoshudra People of Bengal’s Khulna, Jassor, Borishal and Faridpur district that elected Dr. Ambedkar to the Constitutional Assembly were punished by Gandhi and Congress. As a punishment these four districts were given to Pakistan. Can Gandhi be called Mahatma in spite of this?

Due to prevalence of nationwide agitation Dr.Ambedkar was elected to the constituent assembly and then out of compulsion congress people were forced into compromise with Dr. Ambedkar, and that’s why he was made the chairman of the drafting committee. There is a long history of this compulsion. Dr. Ambedkar wrote the Constitution of India. There was not a single adivasis representative in the constituent assembly. Why? This is so because Gandhi and Congress did not allow entry. When no representative of Adivasis, OBC was elected to the Constituent Assembly then how this category of people got constitutional rights? It is indeed very unique to know that Dr.Ambedkar is always accused of being only the leader of the untouchables, fought with people from Congress and like Untouchables won the constitutional rights to Scheduled Tribes as well as Other Backward Classes (OBC).  Brahmin claims himself to be civilized. And this brahmin who claims himself to be civilized calls adivasis residing in forests as ‘Junglee’.

‘Junglee’ is a bad word. ‘Junglee’ means ‘uncivilized’.  And civilized people do not want to grant human rights to uncivilized people. Just like other people Dr. Ambdekar in the Constitution of India granted human rights to Adivasis too. Along with this he granted one such as a special right that other people does not have. All the special rights that ‘Manusmriti’ had granted to Brahmins, Dr.Ambedkar abolished them through the medium of the Constitution but granted special right to adivasis. In the 5th Schedule of the Indian Constitution these is provision for right to self governance by adivasis. Self-governance means only adivasis will rule over adivasis.

At a time when the constitution was being written congress had formed one consultative committee to identify as to what should be provisions for adivasis in the Constitution. This committee was empowered to provide advice to the constituent Assembly. Because this committee was formed by congress, their leaders must have whispered in the ears of the committee members not to give any advice. This piece is of information is not available in the record books, in any case, how will it go into record books? Because of congress command this consultative committee did give any advice. It did not take long for Dr.Ambedkar to realize that all this is happening from Congress command. If this consultative committee had to prepare a document and that document it had to submit to the Constituent Assembly then today this document would have been available today as a guide to adivasis and relevant document. Congress people understood this and that’s why with planning did not allow this consultative committee to prepare any report. Based on whatever information available with Babasaheb Dr.Ambedkar, he studied and created the provision of 5th Scheduled and 6th Schedule thereby attempting to grant rights to adivasis.

According to Section 3 of the 5th Schedule of the Indian Constitution ‘Governor of each state having Scheduled Areas therein shall annually, or whenever so required by the President, make a report to the President regarding the administration of the Scheduled Areas in that State and the executive power of the Union shall extent to the giving of direction to the State as to the administration of the said areas.’

It is written under section 4 (1) that ‘There shall be established in each State having Scheduled Areas therein and, if the President so directs, also in any State having Scheduled Tribes but not Scheduled Areas therein, a Tribes Advisory Council consisting of not more than twenty members of whom, as nearly as may be, three-fourth shall be the representatives of the Scheduled Tribes in the Legislative Assembly of the State:
Provided that if the number of representatives of the Scheduled Tribes in the Legislative Assembly of the State us less than the number of seats in the Tribes Advisory Council to be filled by such representatives, the remaining seats shall be filled by other members of those tribes.

Section 4 (2) has a provision ‘it shall be the duty of the Tribes Advisory Council to advise on such matters pertaining to the welfare and advancement of the Scheduled Tribes in the State as may be referred to them by the Governor’

It is said in section 5 (2) ‘The Governor may make regulations for peace and good government of any area in a State which is for time being a Scheduled Area.
In particular and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing power, such regulations may – (a) Prohibit or restrict the transfer of land by or among members of the Scheduled Tribes in such area’.

According to 2001 census Adivasi population is 8 crore 44 lakh. Out this two and half crore people have been displaced. 5th Schedule of the constitution is very important because out of 8 and half crore population 7 crore adivasis reside in 5th Schedule Areas and one crore people live in 6th Schedule Areas. Through the article 330 and 332 provision for political reservations for Scheduled caste and Scheduled Tribes is made.

According to article 330 Scheduled castes have 77 seats reserved for them and Scheduled Tribes has 42 seats reserved for them. Similarly according to article 332 Scheduled castes has 600 seats reserved; between 400 to 450 legislators are elected from Scheduled Tribes to State Assemblies all over India. They are made to swear an oath that they will work according to the Constitution of India. That way these members of Parliament should have taken the oath after reading of the Constitution but it does not happen this way. They take an oath without reading the Constitution of India. How will they work without reading? Indian independence is completes 60 years, adivasis people are becoming MPs and MLAs. Yet it is not correct to say that they have read the Constitution. Did they see the Constitution? They have not even seen the Constitution. Forget about have closer look; it is doubtful where they even had long range view of the Constitution. Congress nominated consultative committee did not give any advice, even then by wrestling-fighting with congress Dr.Ambedkar granted special right to Scheduled Tribes. But none of the adivasis leaders and higher post scheduled tribes officers are aware of this special right. When they not aware at all then how can agitation to implement 5th Schedule launched?

There is a provision in the 5th Schedule that whatever laws Lok Sabha and State Assembly may enact, if it is not acceptable to the Tribes Advisory committee then whatever laws that are enacted by the Lok Sabha and State Assembly cannot be enforced in Scheduled Area. Yet, what is happening today? In the name of irrigation adivasis lands are captured and dams are built there. Due to construction of dams adivasis are being displaced.

We have an example of Gujarat in front of us. If Gujarat Governor had to form Tribes Advisory Committee as per 5th Schedule of the Constitution, and in the face of threat of adivasis displacement, would the Narmada dam project passed? It would not have been cleared. When dam proposal itself would have not been cleared then how could adivasis have been displaced? If adivasis were not to get displaced then would there have been any need for Medha Patkar to launch an agitation?

Issue of adivasis getting displaced is not getting raised but Medha Patkar’s name is being discussed. Where is adivasis? As far as Medha Patkar is concerned, Medha Patkar is brahmin from Pune. And Pune Brahmins are Peshwa Brahmins who poisoned Shivaji to death. Can the one who poisoned to death carry on the task of keeping someone alive? How can one trust this? This is so because if 5th Scheduled was implemented then there would have been no question of displacement. Till day Supreme court is saying that the height of the Narmada dam should be so and so feet.

The is that if Tribes Advisory Committee had to be constituted in Gujarat and Adivasis had to take this issue to the Tribes Advisory Committee then Tribe Advisory committee would itself have decided as to what should be the height of the dam. There would have been no need to interfere for Judiciary. Judiciary has the right to interpret the laws enacted by the Parliament; it has no right to enact laws, but Indian Judiciary busy working in the task of enacting laws. Judiciary has to decide that the task of Judiciary is not to deliver Judgments but to deliver Justice.

It is said in the 5th and 6th Schedule that adivasis and people living in the Scheduled Areas are highly oppressed. These Schedules have made provisions to safeguard Adivasis Civilization, their land, their forest, mineral wealth found in these areas, and art and culture of adivasis. Yet if we look at the last 58 years government and administration level exactly opposite work has been done on these provisions. In Chhattisgarh Balco project was sold for a song to a private party.

This step was taken in spite of ban on sale of adivasis lands. Today in the name of development adivasis are driven out of forest and over there forest is being leased out to big pharmaceutical companies so that forest can be used to manufacture medicines. Mineral wealth is being extracted and the adivasis who are the owners of forest are inducted as workers and oppressed. In this country congress party ruled for nearly 50-52 years of past 58 years of Independent India.

Ruling caste carry on the task of administrating all the parties. Independence completed 59 years; there are so many provisions for adivasis in the Constitution of India but ruling caste never carried on the task of implementing these provisions. From this it is proved that ruling castes has betrayed adivasis.

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