Adivasi Solidarity Forum meet on Telangana

A meeting was convened by Adivasi Solidarity Forum on 9 August 2013 at Sundarayya Viganana Kendram, Hyderabad on the Concerns of Tribals in the light of Separate Telangana and Seemandhra States. The meeting was presided by Mr S.Jeevan Kumar, President of Human Rights Forum.

Jeevan Kumar drew attention to sad state of affairs where the tribal people are bargained as commodities by elite of both regions. Current political scenario of UPA’s plans to create Telangana and Seemandhra and resistance to it by some forces is all centred on interests of business and political power and these politics violate human rights and people’s aspirations in both regions, said Jeevan Kumar. UPA and CWC is forcing anti-poor designs and sacrifice of tribal interests as conditionality for creation of new states in Andhra Pradesh, said Mr Palla Trinadha Rao, tribal rights activist. He reminded that the central Panchayats Extension to Scheduled Area Act 1996 directs the State Government to follow the pattern of Sixth Schedule to the Constitution while designing arrangements in the Panchayats at District Level in the Scheduled Areas of the State.

Mr Mamidi Bharath Bhushan, environment activist, mentioned that tribal question needs special attention today as the separate Telangana is promised by UPA and CWC along with the promise of according status of a national project with central funds to the controversial Polavaram dam that threatens of cultural genocide with displacement of four lakh people besides turning eastern ghats into social and ecological disaster. It is a litmus test for political parties and they have to prove their integrity by opposing the Polavaram dam, he said.

Prof E Revathi, economist working with CESS, mentioned that wider debate was required to ensure interests of the people and vulnerable sections are not sacrificed in the process of division between the two states of Telangana and Andhra. All issues of adivasis related to land and livelihood should be addressed in the new states, she told. Mr G Satya Srinivas, tribal activist, discussed how livelihoods of tribal people are threatened by resource exploitation policies in violation of both environment law and tribal self rule law. Leaders and parties of new states need to chalk out and declare their policies to protect livelihoods of the tribal people and ensure tribal self rule, said Srinivas.
Mr Chanda Lingayya Dora (former ZPP Chairperson), Prof.M.Gopinath Reddy of CESS, Mypati Arun, State President of Adivasi Students Union, and other tribal leaders from Adilabad, Khammam, Warangal, East Godavari, West Godavari and Vishakapatnam districts also spoke. A Committee has been constituted to prepare Status Paper on Tribal Self Rule and Tribal Development outlining a blue print for action. The status paper is intended for wider debate in both Telangana and Seemandhra regions and informed policy affecting the tribal population.

The Adivasi Solidarity Forum resolved the following:

• The Forum supports the demand for new states in Andhra Pradesh to resolve regional disparities, under development and exploitation. The Forum demands that new states should ensure social justice, and tribal self rule in Scheduled Areas, inhabited by tribal population, which are also subjected to problems of exploitation and discrimination by internal contradictions owing to non tribal forces and hegemonic tribal groups.
• The Forum condemns reducing tribal people and tribal regions and their resources as commodities in the bargain by the forces engaged in creation of Telangana and Seemandhra.
• The Forum condemns UPA and CWC declaration of creating Telangana and Seemandhra states on the condition of sacrificing tribal people and tribal resources under the controversial Polavaram dam. The decision to link separate states with the Polavaram dam is undemocratic and crushing the aspirations of the tribal people and their two decade old struggle.
• The Forum demands the central government and the new states in the making in Andhra Pradesh to avoid tragedy of the tribal people forced to sacrifice for creation of Telangana and Seemandhra states. The forum demands withdrawal of the disastrous Polavaram project.
• The Forum also demand all political parties and civil society groups to condemn UPA & CWC’s unethical resolution of linking Polavaram dam with creation of Seemandhra and Telangana.
• The Forum requests political parties not to accept creation of new states by trading earlier anti-Polavaram movement.
• The Forum demands both states in the making to implement provisions of the PESA Act and Bhuria Committee recommendations for tribal self rule in the scheduled areas of both regions.

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