Adivasi rights organisations have called for a nation-wide bandh on Tuesday demanding that the Centre promulgate an ordinance to secure the forest rights of tribals.
The groups have decided to go ahead with the strike despite the Supreme Court staying the implementation of its earlier order evicting more than 10 lakh families of Adivasis and other forest-dwellers from forest lands across 16 states. The Centre and the Gujarat government had moved petitions in the top court seeking a stay on the court’s February 13 order.
“We were always assured that everyone will be given pattas for the land they occupy but that was never done,” Omprakash of Adivasi Adhikar Andolan, which will organise protests in Madhya Pradesh, told The Indian Express. “Now the government wants to take away our land.”
Protestors are set to march from from Mandi House to Parliament Street in Delhi. Adivasis in Gujarat, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Northeastern states will join the strike.
Loktantrik Janata Dal party leader Sharad Yadav said he supported the strike to “awake the government”. “We don’t want assurance but want justice on d [the] issue of eviction of 10 lakh tribals [and] similarly on d [the] 13 point roster system in d [the] Universities issue,” he tweeted on Monday. “This Govt [government] is not alert, positive [and] pro active for social justice.”
Dalit rights groups will also take part in the strike, demanding that the department-wise recruitment system in universities be nullified, reported The Times of India. They have demanded the promulgation of an ordinance that will overturn the 13-point roster system.
In January, the Supreme Court upheld an Allahabad High Court ruling that reservation in faculty posts in universities should be applied department-wise and not by treating the university as one unit. The University Grants Commission’s new “13-point roster system” introduced in March meant that jobs for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and the Other Backward Classes would reduce.