Call to restore alienated tribal land
Palakkad: A national seminar on "Anthropology and Development Administration" has recommended that the Government implement the Scheduled Tribes (Restriction on Transfer of Lands and Restoration of Alienated Lands) Act 1975.
The recommendation said the 1996 and 1999 amendments to the Act went against the interests of the tribals and aimed to protect the interests of the settlers on these lands.
The land on which the tribal life and culture were rooted had been fraudulently nabbed by the non-tribals. They deceiv3ed the illiterate tribals and usurped their land.
The recommendation said that such lands grabbed using false deeds should be considered as unlawful acquisitions.
The recommendation said : "The Government move to legitimise the illegal occupancies by issuing "pattayams" was a great threat to the existence of the tribals. Non-tribals who occupy forest lands should be treated as aggressors. The distribution of "Pattayams" merely legitimised the illegal. It is political expediency and not legal or moral good that prompted the Government to go against the tribal interest.
The recommendations of the seminar, organised by Ananthakrishna Iyer International Centre for Anthropological Studies here, said that the tribal policy of the Government was pro-tribal in letter and anti-tribal in spirit.
It quoted the Government's confession in a report which said that "in the name of tribal development, we have spent a lot of money during the last several Plans. Yet in the final analysis, it was found that actual benefits trickling down to the tribals have not been consistent with our promises."
The seminar stressed the need for a common platform of different sections of the people who could fight for the rights of the tribals.
Inaugurating the seminar here on Sunday, Mr. Krishna Iyer, former judge of the Supreme Court, said that if atrocities were not eliminated, tribals would not get justice. He opposed the amendments to the 1975 Act terming it as legalisation of alienated land occupied by the non-tribals.
The recommendation further said that "development plans for these communities have to be reviewed regularly and updated".