In black and white, but..

Published: Tuesday 15 October 1996

In black and white, but..

Tribal representatives from different parts of the country staged a dharna (sit in demonstration), in New Delhi on September 2, 1996, demanding the implementation of the Bhuria Committee's recommendations. The Bhuria Committee submitted its report in January, 1995, and recommended that the tribal community control its natural resources like forests, water and land. It also advocated tribal community management of conflict and implementation of development programmes.

Tribals nationwide have been agitating over the implementation of these recommendations for the past one and a half years. This latest demonstration was organised by the National Front for Tribal Self-rule, a coalition of tribal organisations from all over the country. On September 3, 4 and 5, tribal representatives met members of Parliament (MPs) to persuade them to take a strong position on the issue in Parliament. Several adivasi MPs have offered their support. Somji bhai Damor from Gujarat, has agreed to introduce a private bill in the Parliament on tribal self-rule, incorporating the Committee's recommendations. Khagpati Pradhani from Orissa shall be pressing for the same. P A Sangma, the Lok Sabha speaker, has also assured his co-operation in the process.

Various political parties were also compelled to take a clear stand on the issue. The current United Front government has declared its intentions to implement the Bhuria Committee's recommendations in the Common Minimum Programme. Prime Minister Deve Gowda has offered a personal committment to the tribals to enact a law on tribal self-rule. On September 6, 1996, a seminar on the Bhuria Committee's report was held at the Gandhi Peace Foundation in New Delhi. To keep up the pressure on the government, the National Front for Tribal Self-rule is planning to organise a rally in the capital.

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