A major mishap has been averted last minute. And this issue is not related to India and Pakistan. It happened on our very land. Supreme Court had permitted a plan to displace lakhs of citizens through surgical strike on our very land. Owing to this, more than 10 lakh families would have been displaced.
These are not terrorists who have come from Pakistan. They have been living inside the forest since ages and generations. They have the real entitlement to the forest. The Supreme Court had to order their eviction out of compulsion because the lawyer that had to appear on behalf of the tribals had not attended the hearings of the case. Or, the government didn’t want the lawyer to attend the hearings. Because to evict them was the grand plan the government had so that the forest could be handed over to corporates.
But the government hardly anticipated the backlash. The tribal communities came together and protested against the verdict by the Supreme Court. Tribals in north eastern states began consolidating against the government. If this order had been implemented, a large scale massacre of the adivasis would have taken place. And the friction between the government and adivasis would have reached its peak.
Now the citizenship bill has already created such a furor in north east. Now with this order, the damage would have been manifold. The pressure to review this verdict came from the international level and the government appealed to the Supreme Court regarding this. And the court issued a stay on it immediately. The Court has rapped the government asking “were you in slumber till now?” and the government pleaded helpless saying the states were non-cooperative in this.
This shows the level of commitment of the government in safeguarding the interests of about 10 lakh adivasi families. The government barely thinks these are also equal citizens of the country. The governments want forests, but not the adivasis. Government thinks forest is just about the priceless trees that line the land and the mining sites that exist within. In some ways, this is similar to the attitude the government has towards Kashmir. India wants Kashmir yes, but that’s not just geographical borders. It is also about people who have their livelihoods there. Our leaders have conveniently forgotten that. Hence the large scale violence that the army has carried out against the Kashmiris has been distancing the people living there from India. We are trying to make Kashmir ours with rifles. The final result of this is already visible.
The same approach is being adapted with respect to the Adivasis as well. Government wants the forests, but not the adivasis. If they are forcibly evicted, do we have a good rehabilitation plan? No, not even that. Can we evict them only based on the rifle? Won’t they rebel against their own government? Saving environment is just one reason for the government. Corporate forces have set their sights on the forests and they assume all everything lying there is just unclaimed riches. For them to carry out mining and start resorts, the adivasis have to leave first. Hence the government had discouraged the lawyer from attending the court hearing on the matter. Now with the Supreme Court rapping them, the government is forced to face the humiliation.
The pattern of cruelty can be noted if one observes the naxal history. This shows the atrocities of the army, and army officers meted out on the adivasis. They are not literate and have no idea about the policies and legalities. Hence it is easy to cheat them. When the government stood against their interest, the naxals stood with them. They suffered immensely at the hands of police. Adivasi displacement is the main reason for spread of naxalism here. If the government had even implemented the court order, the country would have seen massive bloodshed. Forest is the livelihood of the tribals, They’d feel like fish out of water if they are thrown out of their forests. Kudos to Supreme Court for staying its own order. Even if they have to be rehabilitated, a good plan in place for their life ahead would be highly appreciable too. Hence the government has to take the tribal organizations into confidence.