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Thursday, June 30, 2022

Tribal bodies express ire at STDD order- Mrit News

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Tribal organisations in Wayanad district have expressed their displeasure against a recent order of the Scheduled Tribes Development department (STDD) restricting the entry of individuals and entities to tribal settlements in the State.

The order restricts the entry of individuals and entities to tribal settlements unless special permission is obtained. It says that prior permission from district offices under the department is needed to visit or for any form of data collection or videography.

Adivasi Samajam president K. Ammini told mediapersons that the department was trying to make the tribal hamlets zoos by issuing passes to visit the places.

“Usually, the government issued passes to visit a high-security area or a zoo, but tribal hamlets are not such places. In a democratic set up why does the government restrict the entry,” she said.

The department should monitor the welfare of the tribal people instead of acting as parent for them, she said.

“If the aim of the department is to ensure the welfare of the tribespeople, it should implement the Central government’s pro-tribal Acts such as the Forest Rights Act and the Panchayat Extension to Scheduled Areas (PESA) Act,” she said.

Despite epochal laws and Supreme Court orders, restoration of tribal land remained a mirage to the tribal community as the Left Democratic Front government had issued title deeds to encroachers in 1997, she said.

The order would only help to cover up the grassroots realities of tribal hamlets such as deprivation, sexual exploitation, and atrocities against tribespeople, she said.

Ms. Ammini sought the implementation of the Forest Rights Act and the PESA Act, appointment of a judicial commission to investigate the utilisation of tribal welfare funds, and social audit of development of the hamlets.

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