The Hindu, Bangalore, November 16, 2011
The diversity of tribal culture in south India was on display at the Adivasi Cultural Mela held in the city on Tuesday, but so was the anger at their forcible eviction from forests they have been inhabiting for centuries.
Among the demands, in an 11-point memorandum given to Social Welfare Minister A. Narayanaswamy during the event, was the incomplete implementation of the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 and the subsequent Rules, 2008.
“More than 10,000 tribal families in Karnataka have been denied forest rights. With no forest rights, they have no way of earning a livelihood,” said advocate Ravindra Naik, one of the speakers. [...]
Mr. Narayanaswamy blamed the district authorities for the improper implementation of the Act. “Only four per cent of forest dwellers have been given forest rights in the State. To correct this, we have called district officials and ordered them to follow the law and disperse identity cards and lands to the tribal people,” he said.
He added that while it was imperative for tribal people in eco-sensitive forest zones to be relocated, he emphasised on the need for rehabilitation. “Apart from handing over compensation to them, they should also be given houses, land and access to education,” Mr. Narayanaswamy said, adding that the State Government would pressure the Centre to include these in the rehabilitation process.
The event featured dances by troupes from Tamil Nadu and Kerala. As the mela was held to commemorate the 136th birth anniversary of Birsa Munda, a freedom fighter and tribal leader from Jharkhand, the KAJSS also demanded that a Birsa Munda bhavan be set up in every district and an award be instituted in his name for those who have contributed to tribal welfare.
Source: The Hindu : States / Karnataka : Diversity of tribal culture on display at Adivasi Cultural Mela
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