The convention was held at Indian Social Institute, Lodi Road Institutional
Area, New Delhi on 8th & 9th July 2001
Venue of the Demonstration Opposite the SC & ST Commission,
Loknayak Bhavan, New Delhi 3 to 5 PM on 9th July 2001
(The following declaration was made at the convention
and also handed over to the President of India by a delegation from
Declaration Of The
National Convention To Protest Against Attempts To Amend The Fifth
Schedule Of The Constitution Of India
The Constitution of India expresses the Nation's committment to
ensure social justice and democracy. among the several explicit
provisions of the Constitution, the Schedule V provides a protective
shield to the adivasis and in consideration as the basic structure
of the Indian Constitution. This has been included in the Constitution
honouring the centuries old struggles of adivasis to safeguard communities
rights over natural resources.
Though the bearing and intent of this provision is still to really
begin with full earnestness, after fifty years of the Republic,
the only Constitutional reinforcement of the natural rights of the
adivasis is being undone. Over 3 crore(30 million) adivasis have
been displaced, very large areas of land has been alienated, forest
and other natural resources taken away.
Globalisation and the new market economy is forcing fundamental
changes in policies across all natural resources and we are a witness
to a spate of policies in agriculture, biodiversity, mining etc..
This new attack of globalisation and liberalisation is very transparent
in how it is pro-rich and operates as a powerful tool to suppress
our rights. The Central Government is bowing to the pressures of
the multinational companies and the global capital exposing its
failure to protect the rights of adivasis and other marginalised
sections. Women, who will be most adversely affected being the most
exploited section of our society. We will stem this oppressive trend.
the state has virtually abandoned its role of protection and is
using force for advancing global capitalists.
We are already aware and witness to the gross and subtle violations
that are taking place all across the nation. we are also following
the machinations of the government to directly or by subterfuge
alter the core tenets of Schedule V. similarly the new agricultural
policy reverses the time honoured policy of land-to-tiller and has
substituted it for corporatisation of agriculture which completely
ruin the tribal economy.
The enforcement of the general laws in the adivasi areas has virtually
eclipsed our natural rights. The Panchayat Act for the adivasi areas
(Extension to Tribal Areas) acknowledges the competence of communities
to manage the resources. This must be respected. On the contrary
the application of laws such as the Land Acquisition Act, Forest
Conservation Act, Wildlife Protection Act. etc have been applied
indiscriminately against the interest of the tribal. we strongly
disapprove this trend.
Today the question before us is not only whether the Schedule V
exists but also whether we are in a position to protect and safe
guard our lives. Our land and our resources (jal, jungle, jameen)
form the very basis of our lives and we have inalienable rights
Expressing concern on the rapid erosion of adivasi rights, the
Hon'ble President of India has as in his Republic Day message this
"Let it not be said by future generations that the Indian Republic
has been built on the destruction of the Green Earth and the innocent
Reiterating his concerns we appeal to him to spare no efforts to
stop the attack on the Schedule V.
Historically we have always struggled and resisted any attempts
to snatch our rights not only by the mighty British but also our
State and Central Governments. We will continue to resist all attempts
to amend or alter the Schedule V and will not forego the inalienable
natural right existing from time immemorial. We also express special
concern for those adivasis who suffer for not being brought under
the Schedule V.
We condemn the brutal killings of adivasis in Koel Karo, Kashipur,
Devas and in other places. We express solidarity to their struggles
for a right to life with dignity. we urge the Government to desist
from using the brute force of the State in resolving matters of
conflict over resources.
The struggle for command over natural resources is a national issue
which must be defended collectively. We collectively declare that
we the eighty million adivasis of this country will not refrain
from any form of democratic exertion of our rights and will resist
any tampering of our Country's Constitution. We also call upon all
the democratic forces of our country to understand the spirit and
ethos of the struggle of Adivasis for the natural rights over natural
resources which can play meaning role on the onslaught of global
capital. In our struggle for democracy we shall unite and fight.
9th July 2001
[This Declaration is the outcome of two days deliberations
undertaken by leaders and people of Tribal communities. traditional
tribal leaders, concerned citizens, social action groups and representatives
of peoples organisations.]
Read what the Tribal leaders at the convention had to say about
their concerns on the Fifth Schedule http://www.indiatogether.org/campaigns/schedule5/voices.htm
Complied by Bela Bhatia
from the National Protest Convention
Click images to view scenes from the recent National
protest convention. Click button on right for convention details.
We welcome all concerned to join our efforts. Please contact /
email our convenor. You may get in touch with us at the following
address or through the online Feedback
Ravi Rebbapragada , Chairperson, mm&P
National Campaign Against the Fifth Schedule
Road No.1, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad - 34, India
The next section lists some of the organizations involved in the