Adivasi Demands and the 1989 Act
Adivasi activists refer to the 1989 Act to defend their right to occupy land that was traditionally theirs.
Activists have asked that those who have forcibly invaded upon tribal lands should be punished under this law.
According to the Indian Constitution land belonging to tribal people cannot be sold to non-tribal people. In cases where this has happened, the Constitution guarantees the right of tribal people to re-possess their land.
Sometimes the government itself allows timber merchants and paper mills to encroach on forestland.
Another demand of the Adivasis is that people who have been evicted from their land and cannot go back; have to be compensated for their loss. The government must draw up plans and policies for them to live and work elsewhere.
The central government passed the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006. The Act states that the injustice meted out to the Adivasis must be undone. This Act recognises their right to their homestead, cultivable and grazing land and to non-timber forest produce. It points out that the rights of forest dwellers include conservation of forests and bio-diversity.
Tribal women make ropes with the bhabbar
grass they secure from forests
It is the duty of every citizen to ensure that equality, dignity and respect is given to people of all communities in India.
The laws that have been passed and the policies that have been framed have to be implemented if the marginalized groups are to enjoy the same rights as the majority communities.