Adivasi Students’ Forum (TISS-M) statement and protest demo opposing CNT/SPT amendments and Momentum Jharkhand Summit
Condemning the Amendment to the Chotanagpur Tenancy Act 1908, and Santal Pargana Tenancy Act 1949, and opposing the Momentum Jharkhand Global Investors Summit at Ranchi by the Jharkhand Government.
Adivasis protesting against the land grab spree of the state are portrayed as anti-development and anti-progress, and the enemy of the state. The fundamental problem to this lies in framing of the question/ discourse in terms of binaries of development and anti-development, modern and anti-modern etc., which has always gone againt the Adivasis. We need to ask the right question; development for whom? No, better than the Adivasis can tell, who are the real beneficiaries of the industrialization, mining and dams. The state of Jharkhand is burning for more than a month, beacuse of the amendment to the two important Acts; The Chotanagpur Tenancy Act, 1908 (CNTA) and Santal Pargana Tenancy Act, 1949 (SPTA). The two acts are considered as the Magna Carta for the Adivasis in Jharkhand. These acts recognize Adivasis’ social, cultural, religious and political rights over land and resources and ensures their safeguard and protection. Since, their inception in 1908 and 1949 respectively these Acts have been amended at different times giving way to loopholes, making possible the usurpation of Adivasi land. On May 21, 2016, considering these Acts to be stumbling blocks on the way to industrialization and development, the Jharkhand’s government lead by the Bhartiya Janta Party, issued two ordinances – The Chhotanagpur Tenancy Act, 1908 (Amendment) Ordinance, 2016 and The Santhal Pargana Tenancy Act, 1949 (Amendment) Ordinance, 2016. Finally amidst massive protest in the Assembly by the opposition and the Adivasis across the state, the Sections 21, 49(1) & (2), 71(A) of CNT Act and section 13 of SPT Act were amended on 23rd November 2016. This amendment will empower the government to turn agricultural land for non-agricultural purposes. The manner in which the bill was hurriedly amended without proper discussion in the assembly is indicative of its aim to showcase Jharkhand as a favourite destination for investment at the upcoming Momentum Jharkhand Global Investors Summit, to be held at Ranchi on 16-17 February 2017. This amendment grossly violates both the 5th Schedule of the Constitution and the PESA, which ensures the protection of the Adivasi land. Under the fifth schedule, the Adivasi land cannot be transferred to the non-Adivasis, without the permission of the deputy commissioner. The PESA makes it mandatory to consult the Gram Sabha or the Panchayats at the appropriate level before the acquisition of land in the Scheduled Areas for the development projects and before re-settling or rehabilitating persons affected by such projects in the Scheduled Areas.
The Adivasi Students’ Forum at Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai strongly condemns the amendment of the CNT/ SPT Acts and opposes the Momentum Jharkhand Global Investors Summit, to be held at Ranchi on 16-17 February 2017.
Long Live Adivasi Unity…!! Long Live Student Unity…!!
[Adivasi Students’ Forum, TISS, Mumbai.]
Momentum Jharkhand the Global Investors’ Summit, Ranchi: An attempt to decimate the Adivasis.
The government of Jharkhand is organizing its first ever investors summit on 16th-17th February 2017 at Ranchi, imposing IPC-144 within the city. For the past one year the government has been organising summits and road shows in different cities in the country and abroad to attract business houses and corporates to come and invest in the state. This is in sync with the BJP’s lead central government’s flagship project- ‘Make in India’. The government aims at attracting the investors by making land and resources easily available for exploitation and by promising ‘ease of doing business’, clearing all the bureaucratic, organisational and legal hurdles. However, the biggest block in Jharkhand for investment was land acquisition, guarded by Chotanagpur Tenancy Act (CNTA) and Santhal Pargana Tenancy Act (SPTA). On 23rd November 2016, amidst massive protest in the Assembly by the opposition and the Adivasis across the state, the Sections 21, 49(1) & (2), 71(A) of CNT Act and Section 13 of SPT Act were amended. The amendment empowers the government to change the nature of the land from being agricultural land to non-agricultural land and making land acquisition possible for the unsustainable, undemocratic and self-proclaimed models of development. Since, independence Jharkhand has been exposed to investment and industrialization and various process of development, but it still ranks 19th out of 23 states in the Human Development Index (HDI). These skewed development has marginalised the Adivasis leaving them poor, vulnerable and powerless.
Adivasi Students’ Forum at Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai staged a protest demonstration in the campus expressing their opposition, resistance and protest against the Momentum Jharkhand Global Investors’ Summit, being held at Ranchi. This protest was organised on 16th February 2017, around 8.30 pm in front of the Dining Hall, Main Campus, where many students came and expressed their anger and resentment against the summit and openly condemned it. They strongly felt that this was not an inclusive development and premised largely on excluding the Adivasis and the other marginalised communities in the state. They saw this as an attempt by the government to delegitimise the claims of Jharkhand being an Adivasi state. Students also brought into light the imposition of IPC-144 and strongly condemned such move to curb the democratic protests happening against Momentum Jharkhand. The Adivasi Students’ Forum, looks forward at creating awareness among the students regarding the negative discourse of development which is imposed on the people of Jharkand and India, for which Adivasi and other marginalised communities are made to pay. They urged all the students to be part of the larger movement to resist imperialism and internal colonialism.
Pictures from the protest demonstration :
Photos by : Aashish Xaxa.
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