Adivasi Mahasabha on March 28-30 to discuss tribal welfare issues

New Delhi, March 22, 2011

The Indian Confederation of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples (ICITP) has organised a national conference here on March 28-30 to discuss various issues related to tribal people and to make them aware of their constitutional rights and also find a solution to their problems.

Around 5,000 delegates from more than 500 communities from across the country will attend the "Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Mahasabha" that will be held at the Talkatora Stadium in the capital.

"These people are economically, politically and socially weak. The Mahasabha will provide them a platform to speak on different issues and raise their voice for their betterment," Dr Ram Dayal Munda, MP and Member of the National Advisory Council, told reporters here today.

"The Mahasabha will discuss all the issues related to the tribal people. It will look into different laws enacted in the country for welfare of the tribals and decide how to take advantage of these laws like Right to Information, Panchayat Extension to Scheduled Areas(PESA) Act and Forest Rights Act," Dr Munda said.

The president of ICITP alleged that no government in the country had ever tried to solve the problems of tribal people. "All the governments have only exploited them in the name of development and several promises made in the Constitution were not fulfilled," he said.

Dr Munda added that the tribal people were being deprived of their means of living like land, jungle and water and this was a form of "internal colonisation". He also demanded a white paper on Tribal Sub-Plan.

Dr Munda stated that there were around 50 MPs from tribal communities but they were not raising the voice of these people. He said the people who were taking up arms for their demands should be disowned.

"At a time when cultural survival of Adivasi people is at stake due to the fast pace of globalisation and its adverse impact on us, we will also seriously deliberate on how to cope with these challenges.

"The main purpose of the Mahasabha is to have an overview of the overall condition of the tribal people prevalent across the country in terms of political, economic, social, cultural and human rights and also to assist our people in the country and the government to reflect on our Constitutional rights to self-rule for our honourable co-existence, protection of our identities, languages, culture and socio-economic development and to maintain peace and harmony," he added.

The conference will also take note of the relevant international mechanisms of promotion and protection of the tribal people including United Nations Declaration on the rights of the indigenous peoples.

ICITP is an umbrella organisation looking after over 310 issue-based tribal communities' member organisations.

The Mahasabha would focus mainly on the issues related to land laws and land alienation, development induced displacement, forest/encroachment and eviction, extremism in adivasi areas, poverty, migration, among others.

NNN

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