There seems to be no limits to the violation of the human and legal rights of the Adivasi People of Jharkhand. When they refuse to give their land to mines & industries, they are assaulted and beaten up. Even Adivasi women are not spared. The mining and industrial companies are hiring goondas to do the beating up. Strange but true, the administrative and police officials are seen standing by and watching these shameless acts without making any attempt to prevent the beating of the Adivasi farmers and their women. Fifteen women and men were beaten with sticks till several of them fell unconscious. The ambulance of Kharswan hospital took all the injured to the hospital, gave them first aid, and sent some of them to MGM hospital in Jamshedpur. This was the scene that was enacted at Sareikela, Jharkhand, on the 19th of June.
This whole incident is criminal for the following reasons:
1) Taking Adivasi land in Scheduled Areas to give it to a company is illegal:
The Vth Schedule of the Constitution [Article 244(1)] provides for the administration and control of Scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes. It says that ' the President may order at any time any alteration of the boundaries of the State / Union / Scheduled Area …' (Part C, 6 C). The last 'Delimitation' exercise was carried out recently and the President signed it in the year 2007. It is important to note that Kharsavan-Sareikela District was and continues to be in Scheduled Area. Hence the CNT Act is fully applicable to this District. As per Section 46 of Chotanagpur Tenancy Act, 1908 tribal land cannot be given to any non-tribal person (including government, company). The action of the District administration in allowing Jupiter Cement Plant to come into the district and try to acquire tribal land is completely against law.
2) No project can be finalised without the approval of the Gram Sabha:
'The Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas ) Act, 1996, [PESA] clearly prescribes that "every Gram Sabha shall approve the plans, programmes and projects for social and economic development before such plans, programmes and projects are taken up for implementation by the Panchayat at the village level".[ PESA 4 (e) (i).
It is to be understood that in the absence of elected panchayat, the traditional tribal system is to be held valid.. but the sad thing is that the company, police and administration feel that they need not get the approval of the Gram Sabha on the false excuse that panchayat election has not been held in Jharkhand. Even common sense fails in this context in so far as that even the formality of panchayat election has not been held, the people in the village are there and they are alive, and they are actually taking decisions and acting together. In the final analysis, this attitude of the administration is a denial of the very existence of the tribal people in the villages of the Scheduled Areas. This is absolutely condemnable.
3.Beating up tribal women & men by the hired goondas of the company is adding insult to injury.
'The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of atrocities) Act, 1989,' counts it as an offence of law when any person, not being a member of Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe, wrongfully occupies or cultivates any land of a member of Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe. [ Ch. II,3 (1) (iv)]
The same Act holds as deserving of punishment any person, not being a member of Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe, assaults or uses force to any woman belonging to Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe with intent to dishonour or outrage her modesty. [ Ch. II,3 (1) (xi)]
This is what happened on 19th June 09 when about 100 roudies hired by the company severely beat up about 15 tribal women and men. The shocking thing is that both the police and administrative officials stood by watching this cruel scene.
This animal behaviour of the company, the police and administration is regrettable.
4. The District Administration is guilty for not taking any action against the guilty.
What does one do with those police and govt officials who deliberately fail to do their duty prescribed by law? The 1989 Act mentioned above has the following to say:
"Whoever, being a public servant but not being a member of Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe, wilfully neglects his duty required to be performed by him under this Act, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than six months but which may extend to one year" [clause 4]
Is it any wonder, then, that tribal people increasingly lean towards the extremist forces such as the naxalites to give them protection from the State machinery?