Violation Of Tribal Right Cause For Naxalism
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
MANGALORE, July 22, 2007: Is violation of tribal rights responsible for the proliferation of the naxalite movement in the Kudremukh National Park (KNP) area?
This is the question that is now being debated in several circles. While conservationists say a firm "No", tribal leaders and some NGOs backing them are of a different opinion. But both of them agree that the tribal people are in the thick of a social problem, for which solution cannot be found through violence.
The KNP, which is spread over 65,000 hectares in four districts, is home to around 1,200 tribal families who have been living inside the national park before 1972 when the Wildlife (Protection) Act was passed by Parliament. Most of them have title deeds and some of them also own revenue land. However, there are a few people who have encroached on forest land after 1972.
President of the Dakshina Kannada Parisaraskta Okkuta, Ranjan Rao Yerdoor, claims that officials of the Forest Department are harassing the tribal people. Mr. Yerdoor points out that now, some youth have joined hands with "undesirable" elements.
He says that the eviction of tribal people from the national park should necessarily have a "human face", and should aim at inspiring a natural self-eviction process among the tribal people.
Nagarika Seva Trust, an NGO working in the field of tribal welfare, is also of the opinion that the naxalite movement in the KNP is a result of the social problem faced by tribal people.
The president of the trust, Somanatha Nayak, says that the government scheme to start 10 rehabilitation camps for tribal people and the Rs. 60-crore rehabilitation package for them are not solutions to the problems plaguing tribal people.
He says that evicting tribal people and accommodating them in urban areas will only aggravate their problems. Instead, the Government should encourage them to live inside the forest as they know how to protect their surroundings, he says.
On the other hand, the conservationists argue that the Joint Forest Planning and Management programme (JFPM) is one of the best methods of keeping undesirable elements out of national parks and reserved forests. But they lament that over the years, the JFPM programme has lost its appeal. They recall that a coalition of activists and scholars was responsible for ensuring that the concept of people's participation was incorporated into the project. Subsequently, the JFPM was also incorporated into the Eastern Plains Forestry project covering 17 districts in the State and executed with a loan from Japan. However, all the funding has gone into running various programmes except those on tribal welfare, they say.
Sometime ago, a seminar was organised by the trust and Jana-Aranya Vedike on "National parks and tribal rights," which was addressed by several intellectuals, thinkers, and sociologists. The speakers observed that while tribal people were made refugees, permission was granted to a leading group to construct a hotel within the Nagarhole National Park. They also observed that 10,000 hectares of land was leased out to the Kudremukh Iron Ore Company Ltd. within the KNP to carry out mining.
posted by Resistance 7/24/2007 07:43:00 AM,