Skip to main content

"False" cases like waging war on Indian state continue for three decades: Whither independence for Adivasis?

Jagsingh, 80 plus: "Falsely implicated"
By Rahul Banerjee*
There are provisions in the Indian Constitution, in its Fifth and Sixth Schedules, for Tribal Self Rule in accordance with their own indigenous genius. These have mostly been honoured in the breach by the Indian Central and state governments, which have intensified the colonisation of Adivasi areas after independence in pursuit of resources for modern industrial development, starting from where the British left off.
Consequently, for most tribes people, apart from the few who have been elected as lawmakers and employed as Government servants, independence has never really meant freedom from tyranny and oppression and instead they have had to face direct and indirect displacement and the resultant misery.
I have had the privilege of being part of some mass movements of the Bhil Adivasis to implement the Fifth Schedule in their areas of residence and actualise Tribal Self Rule and achieve true independence.
One such was the effort by the Adivasi Morcha Sangathan in Dewas district in the late 1990s which tried to actualise the provisions of the Fifth Schedule by empowering the Adivasi Gram Sabhas to prevent sale of liquor, control the management of forests and prevent logging of trees both legal and illegal, prevent the police from falsely implicating Adivasis in criminal cases and reverse the alienation of Adivasi land usurped by non-Adivasis.
Predictably, as the power of this mass movement increased, the State government of the time, a Congress one incidentally, came down hard and crushed this movement with police atrocities killing four of the Sangathan members and jailing many more in 2001 in a repeat of many other such repressive actions on Adivasis after independence. Many false cases of a serious nature like attempt to murder and waging war against the state were foisted on the leaders of the movement.
Even though eventually, due to their fabricated nature, the Adivasis were acquitted by the trial courts in all of these cases, the government in its perversity decided to appeal against this acquittal in one case which had charges of attempt to murder and waging war against the state. This appeal was admitted by the High Court in Indore in 2008 despite its flimsy nature because cases of appeal filed by the Government routinely get admitted without much application of thought.
The case is yet to come up for final hearing after ten years. This is because the High Courts throughout this country are hugely overburdened by cases mostly filed by the Government in a perverse manner and so there is very little time to hear the huge pending list of cases. In the present case, the Adivasi movement leaders were first falsely implicated with serious offences and then, despite being acquitted in the lower court due to lack of evidence, were further oppressed through appeal.
Some of these leaders were in their fifties in 2001 and are now past the age of eighty. One has already expired. Another one Jagsingh is bedridden with rheumatic arthritis that has completely taken away the strength from his legs. Yet Jagsingh has to attend the court from time to time in a wheelchair.
In one such hearing recently an application had been given on behalf of Jagsingh for exemption from court appearance. The motion of hearings for cases of serious criminal offences along with civil cases of higher value are heard together by a division bench of the High Court consisting of two judges. Due to the huge vacancies of judges’ posts in the High Court, the division bench sits for just the morning session for two and a half hours after which the judges sit as single benches in the afternoon. There were 131 cases listed to be heard by the division bench in a space of two and a half hours.
The case of Jagsingh was listed at number 91. Consequently, by the time the lunch interval approached at 1.30 pm, his case was still some ten cases away. So his lawyer got up and made a special plea for his case to be heard before the court rose, as it would be difficult for him to come again and again given his serious medical condition.
The judges graciously agreed but by that time they had become very tired disposing of so many cases, in each of which they not only have to apply their mind but also dictate orders all in double quick time. Therefore, the judges heard the arguments and just said “heard” without giving any orders and so the case of exemption from attendance for Jagsingh remains pending. However, because he had a senior lawyer appearing for him, at least the case was notionally heard and he won't have to attend the court again as later an order in his favour can be coaxed out when the Judges have more time in the next hearing.
This is the kind of injustice that Adivasis are facing today. Throughout the country Adivasis are being displaced or oppressed in the interests of furthering modern industrial development and if they protest then they are being killed and jailed after being implicated in false cases. Even if they somehow manage to get acquitted in the trial courts, the State perversely appeals against the acquittals in the higher courts where, due to the huge pendency of cases, final hearings do not take place and even motion hearings do not come up for proper hearing.
Jagsingh happens to be one of the few who has a Sangathan to back him and so he is not having to pay the exorbitant fees of engaging senior lawyers and the cost of travel to the court but today there are thousands of other Adivasis in jails across this country unable to secure their freedom because of their poverty. What kind of Independence Day we are celebrating is the question.
---
Source: https://anar-kali.blogspot.com

Comments

TRENDING

North Gujarat gram panchayat bars villagers from dealing with Muslim hawkers, traders

By Our Representative  A gram panchayat in North Gujarat has barred its residents not to buy anything from Muslim traders and hawkers. An order of the Waghasan group gram panchayat of Tharad taluka of Banaskantha district dated June 30 states that the decision has been taken in the wake of beheading of a Hindu tailor after he posted a derogatory writeup on Prophet Mohammad in Udaipur. The gram panchayat resolution says, anyone seen buying or selling any commodity from a Muslim hawker or trader would be fined Rs 5,100. Bringing this to light, Mujahid Nafees, convener, Minority Coordination Committee, in a letter to Gujarat chief minister Bhupendra Patel, says, the state government should take legal action against the panchayat chief who has signed the “unjust” order. The letter says, the act of the sarpanch and other signatories is a violation of rule of law of the state and threat to peace, pointing out, the move is in violation of Article 15 of the Constitution, which says that none

Technocratic globalism, tyranny? Health Ministry warned: bill to 'enslave' Indians

Sandeep Pandey, Tushar Gandhi By Rosamma Thomas*  Union of Concerned Citizens, a group comprising Magsaysay Award winner Prof Sandeep Pandey, human rights activist Tushar Gandhi, former judge of the Bombay High Court BG Kolse Patil, pediatrician Dr Jacob Puliyel and several renowned Indian citizens have written to the Union Health Minister cautioning him against tabling the draft Public Health Bill in the Monsoon Session of Parliament. “The Public Health (Prevention, Control And Management Of Epidemics, Bio-Terrorism And Disasters) Bill, 2017 and a Prospective Bill of 2022 as discussed in news articles, is straightforwardly violative of Fundamental Rights of the citizens of India and therefore, Ultra Vires of the Indian Constitution. It contravenes several International Treaties and Conventions including the Nuremberg Treaty of 1947 which was enacted to ensure that no country would repeat such inhuman medical atrocities on fellow human beings”, the 12-page letter reads. “Strangely, t

Unlike Soviet Union, Russia is no friend to India: Ukrainian scholar tells 'Indian friends'

Counterview Desk In an open letter to "dear Indian friends", Anastasia Piliavsky, born in Odessa, Ukraine, studied at Boston and Oxford Universities (on a Rhodes Scholarship), and now teaches at King’s College, London, has said that she faces "deep moral dilemma", personally and professionally, over the "astonishingly unified Indian response to the war in Ukraine." Based on her interaction with a "number of thoughtful and caring Indian friends", in this letter, she says, she is "reeling at the ubiquitous silence at, justifications of or outright support for Putin’s terror, which now prevails in India, at the ubiquitous #IStandWithPutin and #istandwithrussia hashtags." She insists, India must understand, "Unlike the Soviet Union, Russia is no friend to India. Soviet leaders, beginning with (the Ukrainian) Nikita Khrushchev – who declared hindi rusi bhai bhai – built up deep political and cultural exchange with India." Text : I

PLFS data: Is rising employment good news? Deeper analysis suggests contrary results

By Ishwar Chandra Awasthi, Puneet Kumar Shrivastav*  Results of the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS), 2020-21 , released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, Government of India (GoI) on June 14, 2022, show improvement in work force participation rate (WPR) and labour force participation rate (LFPR) and declining unemployment rate. Four rounds of data have been released from 2017-18 to 2020-21 based on PLFS. The general trend in the last four rounds clearly shows consistent increase in WPR and LFPR and falling unemployment rates by usual status (PS+SS). Though increase in WPR and LFPR is reported highest in 2019-20 over 2018-19, yet rising trend in these two key indicators continues throughout, and similarly fall in unemployment is registered highest in 2019-20 over 2018-19. Clearly, the recent results give some solace and relief after unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic that has entailed enormous loss of human lives and livelihoods and crippled economic activit

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

'Drop all falsed charges': 150 citizens demand early release of AltNews co-founder

Counterview Desk  About 150 concerned citizens have demanded the release of Mohammed Zubair, co-founder of the fact-checkng newsportal AltNews, arrested over a 2018 tweet which allegedly hurt religious sentiments, even as booking for criminal conspiracy and having received foreign funds in violation of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA). Denied bail last weekend and sent to 14-day judicial custody, the concerned citizens, in a statement, regretted that while the Delhi High Court issued notice to the Delhi police on a petition filed on behalf of Zubair challenging the legality and propriety of his police remand and the seizure of his electronic devices, the “frivolous case” continues. Excerpts: The illegal arrest of Mr. Mohammed Zubair happened on June 27, 2022, by the Delhi Police for allegedly hurting religious sentiments and promoting enmity over a tweet from 2018. The IPC Sections included 153(a) (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race,

Chennai residents 'suffering': Faulty design, implementation of storm water project

By NS Venkataraman*  The Greater Chennai Corporation is now implementing storm water drainage project in 559 roads, covering a distance of 1033 kilometres, which cost around Rs 4,070 crore. For this massive project, which is targeted to be completed between April and September this year, huge loan has been availed from World Bank, Asian Development Bank and others. Several technocrats have pointed out that the project has been designed with outdated technology and quality of the implementation is so poor that the residents have been put to great hardships. As part of the project, digging of the road has been done to around 5 to 6 feet deep and width of around 4 to 5 feet. The drains are being constructed using steel reinforced cement concrete with two walls on either side with provisions for manhole, chute etc. This has been done in front of several houses leaving little space between the gate of the house and that of the drainage structure. As the work has been going on for mor

Prime Minister's 'affordable' housing policy fails to help Gujarat slum dwellers: Study

By Rajiv Shah  A new study on the implementation of one of the major policy initiatives for the urban poor by the Narendra Modi government after it came to power, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), has said that in Gujarat, which happens to be the Prime Minister’s home state, has quoted state officials as “confirming” that no progress towards tenure regularization, a key requirement for providing housing to the state’s slum dwellers. Stating that this particularly true of smaller town, the study, carried out by the non-profit Homes in the City (HIC), which is based in Bhuj, district headquarter of Kutch that saw a devastating earthquake in 2001, says, the failure to provide affordable housing is there despite the fact that there has been “significant demand” in all the 83 out of 153 Gujarat municipalities studied by experts involved in the study. According to the study, out f a total of 1.41 lakh demands for housing under the Beneficiary Led Construction (BLC) category, 94,232 (66.7%)

'Contractor-official nexus led to RTI activist's murder': Fact-finding team seeks probe

Courtyard inside of PWD office where Ranjeet Soni was killed Counterview Desk  A fact-finding team* visited Vidisha, Madhya Pradesh (MP) on June 19, 2022 to meet with the family of Ranjeet Soni, who was shot dead on June 2, 2022 inside the premises of the PWD office in Vidisha. The objective was to gather information about the circumstances surrounding the death of Ranjeet Soni and his work on exposing corruption through the use of the Right to Information (RTI) Act. A report prepared by the team members says that Ranjeet had been extensively using the RTI Act to access information from the government, and upon receiving documents showing misuse of public funds or corruption, he was filing complaints to various authorities including the Lokyukta, Publi Works Department (PWD) and the Chief Minister’s Office. It notes, Ranjeet used to work as a contractor and often undertook government works in collaboration with other contractors, including those being investigated for his murder. A f

Electricity Bill: Centre's reform measures contain 'carrot and stick package' for states

Counterview Desk  The Peoples’ Commission on Public Sector and Public Services (PCPSPS), claiming to be a network of eminent academics, jurists, erstwhile administrators, trade unionists and social activists, seeking consultations with stakeholders with those who are against the government’s decision to monetise, disinvest and privatise public assets/enterprises, has said that the proposed Electricity (Amendment) Bill-2022 will have far-reaching impacts on the finances of states. Insisting that the proposed Bill would lead to “assault on India’s federal structure”, in a statement, it says, it would weaken the finances of states’ power distribution companies, have adverse impact on utility employees, cripple the states' finances, impose a heavy cost burden on the smaller subsidized consumers (especially farmers), and benefit only corporate business houses. “States cannot afford to ignore the far-reaching implications of the Bill on their economy, finances, agricultural and industria