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Will the fence eat the crop ?

Peoples Voice on July 27, 2017 - 3:51 pm in Rights

Stan Swamy

Will the fence eat the crop ?

Media report: ‘over 1000 fake land-deeds grabbing Adivasi land after Jharkhand State formation’  [Prabhat Khabar 19 June 2017]

Adivasi People have the right to know:

(1) Who made these fake land-deeds… their names & present address;

(2) Who were the govt functionaries who regularised this loot… their names, present position in govt & present address ;

(3) What action has been taken against them by present govt?

(4) How many acres of adivasi land has been usurped?

(5) Has the land been restored to original adivasi owners?

(1) Who made these fake land-deeds…?

We know it for a fact that immediately after Jharkhand State was created a mighty wave of outsiders moved into  Jharkhand looking for greener pastures. And they came to settle down with a piece of land and a house to live in. Jharkhand became their second home. Now there were legal obstacles such as CNT/SPT Acts, Fifth Schedule, PESA which did not allow non-Scheduled Tribals to acquire land in scheduled areas. So they had to invent ways by which they could acquire adivasi land by all means. But this illegal transaction must appear to be legal and all kinds of devious means were adopted. The simple adivasis were cheated wholesale, often by their fellow tribals who became middle men to the outsiders. Because the kathian deeds were hand-written, new hand-written deeds were made and the original deeds disappeared from the registry office! Now we need to know who are they.

(2) Who were the govt functionaries who regularised this loot…?

We all know that this type of cheating is not possible without the active connivance of the officials of the registry office. Their common aim is to grab Jharkhandi land and settle down permanently. To do this any trickery is okay. This whole anomaly came to light when some high-level officers started to examine the land deeds based on the complaints from some original adivasi land-owners. The Adivasi Moolvasi community has a right to know who these govt functionaries are and whether they are retired or still in service. They all need to be taken to task.

(3) What action has been taken …? who has to act?

It is the present-day govt which must act. But will it? It has not acted so far and it is unlikely that it will act against its own kith and kin. Will the fence eat the crop! Fence is meant to protect the crop and not eat it. So if the govt will not act, Adivasi Moolvasi movements and parties which must pressurize the govt to act. If need be, legal action may have to be taken.

(4) How many acres of adivasi land has been usurped?

It is a tragic story of how govt has dealt with the land of the indigenous people. It has not cared even to keep a record of how much indigenous people’s land has been alienated from them and consequently how many of them have been displaced. Independent researchers have estimated that about 24 lakh acres of indigenous land has been forcibly acquired since independence. Of this, how much has been acquired legally and how much illegally is a disputable question. But the point remains that Adivasi Moolvasi people have the right to know how much of their land has been taken against their will.

(5) Has the land been restored back to the original owners?

It is common knowledge that only those pieces of land which came into limelight or on which legal action was taken by the original owners has been  restored to them. But it is minuscule. And the injustice done to the Adivasi Moolvasi communities is maximal.