Tribal Displacement

Topics: Human rights, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Adivasi Pages: 15 (5506 words) Published: March 6, 2011
Tribal Displacement and Human Rights Violation
After the Independence, India was engaged in a nation-building process. Nation building was equated with modernization and fast development of infrastructure and economic conditions of the people and the country as a whole. The question is that the development activities should give space for the protection of the rights of the Tribal people and the prosperity or greater good for the larger numbers? The pursuit of development has in present day situation adversely affected the marginalized sections causing deprivation, displacement and devastation, and drastically altered the relationship of the tribes with the natural environment and the resources. This again raises some unpleasant questions. Development for whom, development for what and at what social cost (Baboo, 2001:195)? Thus, while the ‘core’ of the ‘nation’ developed, it was at the cost of the marginals. Decided on the interests of the dominant majority, they consistently excluded marginal sections of the people, signaling an exclusionary process. Nations are thus not just oppressive to others; they can be brutal to their own people. The project of nation-building is constantly shedding portions of its own people from the purview and thereby creating its outsiders (Nag, 2001: 4757). This is the background logic where the whole issue of human rights violation takes place in various parts of the country as a result of development undertakings. Thus, the tribal regions of Orissa are not exception of it. Social Composition of Tribals

The tribals are the indigenous people living in the hilly parts of the state. According tothe 2001 Census the tribals, commonly characterized as the Scheduled Tribes (STs) by the constitution of India constitute 8.2 percent (about 84.3 million) of India’s population. They are found in 2001 in the greatest numbers in Chhattisgarh (6.6 million, or 31.8 percent of the state's population), Jharkhand (7 million, or 26.3 percent), and Orissa (8.1 ∗ Research Scholar, Centre for the Study of Social Systems, Jawaharlal Nehru University; Email: This paper was published as “Tribal Displacement and Human Rights Violations in Orissa”, Social Action: A Quarterly Review of Social Trends, April-June, 2005, Vol. 55, No. 2 In Orissa, the tribal population is 22.1 percent of the total population in the state which is the third highest among the states in the country. Although in Madhya Pradesh 20 percent of the state’s population are tribal, but in absolute numbers it accommodates the highest tribal population (12 millions). Except from the Northeast, Orissa occupies a unique position among the states in India for the highest concentration of Scheduled Tribes next to Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. Out of 414 principal tribes found in the country, as many as 62 ethnic groups are found in the old nine hilly inland districts of Orissa. The inland districts are mostly inhabited by scheduled tribes and scheduled castes, which together constitute around 50 percent of their population. According to the 1991 Census, Kondhs are the largest tribe in Orissa. In fact, 90 percent of Kondhs of India live in Orissa and they form 16.72 percent of Orissa’s population. The other major tribes are Santhal (8.97 percent), Saura and Sabara (together 6.25 percent), Mundas (5.75 percent), Paraja (4.51 percent), Bhottada (4.18percent) etc (Mohanty, 1998:84). They are primarily concentrated in the districts of Koraput, Kalahandi, Phulbani, Ganjam, Keonjhar, Sundargarh, Mayurbhanj, etc. which happen to be the bauxite and other mineral reserve plateau in the state. Negligence of the Center and the Entry of Market Forces

Economically, colonial Orissa was one of the poorest and most backward of Indian states. It has always been suffering from ‘extreme poverty’ and ‘central neglect’ in terms of economic sphere due to the unequal allocation of resources. According to the estimation the poverty ratio...
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