Protect Culture, Faith, Livelihood And Natural Resources Of
Indigenous People: Observe Kandhamal Day on August 25, 2014
By V. S Roy David
12 August, 2014
In response to the call for action for the coming Kandhamal Day on August 25th publicised by National Solidarity Forum, we the National Adivasi Alliance hereby express the following concerns:
1. The Adivasis of this country are consistently subjected to land, water and forest alienation as a result of the mainstream invasions including mega developmental projects and various new schemes under globalisation. So far, the minimum possession they have is their culture and spirituality and we are deeply concerned about the invasive interventions by the vested interests even on such minimum possessions.
2. Kandhamal has only 20 per cent Hindus who have come from outside and eighty per cent belong to Adivasis and Dalits. Among them a large section belong to Christians and many do not belong to either Hindu, Christian or Islam. The Adivasis have always had very different spirituality, quite different from the established religions. We are deeply concerned about the forced conversion activities by the Sangh Parivar trying to establish that all Adivasis are Hindus. There is an immediate need for the protection of indigenous faith of the Adivasis in India, as well their culture, wisdom, values and knowledge which are much more close to the environment than any other culture.
3. Around 300 churches and worship places have been destroyed, over 6,000 houses were destroyed, burnt and looted, over 56,000 people have been displaced, over hundred people have been killed and women were raped during the planned, targeted communal violence in Kandhamal. All the victims and survivors belonged to Adivasi and Dalit Christians. Till today, no justice is provided to these indigenous people. The criminals who are responsible for the violence are roaming around scot free and innocent people are put behind bars while large number of innocent people is facing fabricated charges. The use of the draconian law known as Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), which the human rights activists have been campaigning against for a long time, is also used against innocent people.
We, the National Adivasi Alliance therefore demand the following:
1. Immediate release of all victims facing fabricated charges.
2. Immediate imprisonment of all the criminals who are responsible for the crimes of violence in Kandhamal
3. Protection of faith, culture, language, values and religions of Adivasis of Kandhamal.
4. Action against the officials of police, bureaucracy and politicians who facilitated such communal violence.
In this context, we call upon all the concerned human beings, secular groups, human rights organisations and like minded members of the political parties to respond to the call for action by the National Solidarity Forum for expressing your public concern on the Kandhamal Day on August 25, 2014. The following is the texts of the call for action:
At a time when the indigenous people of this country are being threatened by the forces of globalisation and communalism, we feel that it is the responsibility of every citizen of this county to preserve justice, peace and harmony. We appeal to all of you to spread this message as widely as possible.
V. S Roy David, Convenor, National Adivasi Alliance
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