Adivasis and indigenous peoples under attack in India, says report

New Delhi: Adivasi Divas is a regional public holiday observed every year on August 9 to raise awareness and protect the rights of the indigenous tribes living in India.

The day coincides with the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People. ‘Adivasi’ refers to various tribes living in the Indian subcontinent, around 104 million people (over 9% of India’s population) fall into this category. India has done considerable damage to Adivasis, their forests and culture.

As per media reports, the Modi government and BJP State governments in India are carrying a very bad record on three issues of implementation of the Forest Rights Act (FRA), allocation of funds for the welfare of tribals and curbing the rising atrocities on tribals.

A top global NGO International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL) has said, Adivasis, tribal and indigenous peoples are under attack in India, it stands with them “in their struggle for justice.”

According to India’s National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), 8,272 cases of atrocities were reported in 2020. Atrocities include all the crimes in the Indian Penal Code like murder, rape, causing grievous hurt with the Prevention of Atrocities Act (PAA) which defines deliberate insults, discrimination, humiliation or dispossession from land etc.

“Security forces continue to violate indigenous peoples’ rights in Central and Northeast India.” In July 2021, Madhya Pradesh Forest Department forcefully evicted the Bhil and Barela Adivasi communities from Khwanda district without prior notice and in clear violation of the Forest Rights Act.”

“In Nagaland, 13 Indigenous Naga civilians were killed by security forces on December 2021 under auspices of Armed Forces Special Powers Act.” Further, “In Chhattisgarh, Adivasi communities continue to resist the state government’s plan to reduce 840 acres of the Hasdeo Arand forest by cutting 450,000 trees for coal mining activities despite “No Go area” for coal mining to address coal shortage reports. This plan will effectively displace around 10,000 Adivasis and destroy their lives and livelihood.” International community should express solidarity with “all the Adivasi groups, tribal and indigenous communities in India” against the continuing attacks on them.