Protests against Land Revenue Code Amendment Bill 2017 – Demands from Sarv Adivasi Samaaj

January 11, 2018

This article first appeared in Sangharsh Samvad, and has been translated by Samik.

Chhattisgarh: Demonstration and Rally by Sarv Adivasi Samaaj on 6th January 2018 in front of all District Headquarters against the Land Revenue Code Amendment Bill 2017

The Sarv Adivasi Samaaj has called for demonstrations and rallies in front of all district headquarters of Chhattisgarh state on 6th January 2018 against the decision of the Government to pass the Land Revenue Code Amendment Bill 2017 during the winter session.

It is learned that on 21st December, during the Assembly winter session the Raman Government has cleared the Ammendment Bill amidst heavy protest of the opposition. Revenue Minister Premprakash Pandeya, while clearing the bill, said that the simplification of land ownership will remove all the obstacles for development. 43 Members of Legislative Assembly voted for the motion while 31 voted against it.

On 23rd December, effigies of the Chief Minister were burnt in different places of Bastar, Sarguja, Korba and Balouda districts.

Meanwhile, the Revenue Minister Premprakash Pandey in a press conference has accused the Opposition Congress Party of instigating the Adivasi community on the Land Revenue Code Amendment Bill.

It is learned that by clearing this bill the adivasi ministers have been target of the anger of their community, because they let the anti-Adivasi bill get passed in their presence. The presence of Adivasi ministers Kedar Kashyap, Mahesh Gagra and Ram Sevak Paikra in the press conference has made the community even more angry.

The main demands:

1. The state government has cleared the Land Revenue Code Amendment Bill 2017, which is an anti-constitutional crime. This ammendment made by Chhattisgarh government directly violets the sections 19(5), 19(6), 244(1), 143, 275, 368 and 13(3) of the Constitution of India. This amendment goes against the basic concept of the Constitution. The Adivasi community is condemning this draconion bill in toughest language. According to the Sarv Adivasi Samaaj, the land belonging to the Adivasis are non-transferable property. The Ruling in India is governed by the Land Revenue Rules of 1879, 1921, 1972. According to paragraphs 91 and 92 of the Government of India Act, lands of excluded and ecologically excluded area are natural property of the adivasis. These areas are non-regulated areas. In scheduled area neither centre nor state Governments, nor any particular individual or organization are allowed even 1 inch of land. The question then arises: which land is the Government  trying to implement this Bill on? Neither Parliament, nor any Legislative Assembly is allowed to impose any rule on scheduled lands. Supreme Court has already committed its verdict on this in 1997, and paragraphs 2 and 5 of fifth schedule of the constitution conforms to it, which is related to article 368. This Amendment Bill by the state Government is a direct violation of these clauses of the constitution which is a sedition-like crime.

2. Before 2004, Sawra, Bharia, Bhumia, Bhuihar, Pando, Nagbangshi etc tribes of Chattisgarh used to enjoy the benefit of reservations. But post 2004 Chattisgarh authority made some fatal mistakes due to which all the benefits were stopped for them. Now all tribes are to be cleared these due benefits which became backlogs after the formation of Chattisgarh.

3. Ordinance has been passed to appoint 100% Group 3 and Group 4 staffs of Maharashtra administration in scheduled areas from the Adivasi community. Chhattisgarh should also adopt the same practice of recruiting 100% Group 3 and Group 4 staffs from the Adivasis in Scheduled areas.

4. Innocent Adivasis are beaten up, arrested and jailed by Police and Security Forces of Naxalite infested areas of Chhattisgarh, by tagging them as Naxals. Police marks innocent Adivasis who only survive on harvesting and other labourous works, as Naxals. On the other hand, the Security Forces also accuse them of being involved with the Naxals and simply shoot them. Hapless Adivasis are dying on both fronts. Police are creating false cases of being involved with Naxalite activities against these Adivasis and arresting them to receive accolades from their seniors. Sarv Adivasi Samaaj strongly protests these practices and demands unconditional release of innocent Adivasis locked up in jails.

5. Departments like health, education, agriculture, news etc in the scheduled areas of Chhattisgarh outsource many jobs to external agencies. On the other hand, in the same scheduled area, there are thousands of educated Adivasi youths who remain jobless. This way they are being deprived of their jobs and basic rights in their own land by the administration. Outsourcing of jobs should be stopped immediately and genuine residents of Chhattisgarh should be offered these Government jobs.

6. The Scheduled Tribes Welfare Department of Chhattisgarh has handed over the schools managed by them to the Education Department. As a result, the existance of the Adivasi Welfare Department has been almost abolished. Sarv Adivasi Samaj demands the Scheduled Tribes Welfare Department resumes its work as before.

7. In scheduled areas the women of Adivasi community are regularly targeted for sexual atrocities and violences. Not only this, the indecent behavior and molestation by the Security Forces of Bastar on the Adivasi women has resulted in widespread anger among the community. The administration turns a blind eye on these incidents. Therefore the security of Adivasis must be ensured with immediate effect. Along with that, boys from other community lure the innocent Adivasi girls, marry them and then capture their properties illegally. The government enjoys the benefit from different schemes in these areas and then treats the Adivasis badly, also exploits them. Because boys from other communities marry Adivasi girls only to get the benefit of reservation given to the Adivasis, therefore the reservation benefits should be stopped to the married Adivasi women as soon as they make inter-caste marriages. Also all the cases of violences and atrocities on them should be properly investigated and the criminals be strictly punished, so that no such incident can happen in future.

8. Pakhanjur of Kanker district accommodates asylum seekers who are legally accommodated there. But there are too many intruders residing in that area. They should be evacuated immediately. Commissionar of Bastar District had done a meeting on this issue on 29-9-2017, based on which an immediate order should be circulated. Clause 165 of the Land Revenue Code Amendment allows the Adivasis to sell off their lands legally. Chhattisgarh Sarv Adivasi Samaj strongly protests it. With all the demands stated above, maximum members of the community are planning demonstration and staging of their protests in 146 Development Blocks of the entire Chhatisgarh state. Sarv Adivasi Samaj appeals to all communities to make this movement successful by being present in all those rallies, demonstrations and protests in maximum possible numbers.