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THE LOVE TRIANGLE: Tribals, Naxals, and Deforestation



Indian Democratic Anomalies

India is a democratic nation, it's not just any democracy that surged out of the anti-royalist

sentiments that gained momentum during the warring periods. The concept of democracy

had always been a part and parcel of Indians as India was the mother of the world’s first

democracies. In a democracy, everyone has an equal stand to participate in the workings of

the Government as long as they are human beings with flesh and blood.

India has been a democracy for some time now however, the reins of our colonial past have

held on to us. Along with these colonial colours, the ideologies from bygone times have

never failed to capture the attention of Indians as we are a curious sort of people in some

ways. One of these ideologies is Communism. Well, communism had its varied effects on the

minds of Indians during the British Raj, some supported it because of the mutual hate the

Indians harboured towards the Allied parties, however, some looked at it from a

revolutionary angle and considered it to be the final Bhramastra to unite India under one

banner of humanity. How it all failed on both these frontiers is another story, however, this

brings us to the problems at hand, the seeds of hate and spite that Communism buried deep into the minds of the people who followed it like the world's last religion.


Naxals and their Vicious Plot

Communism has given rise to the current problem of a group of anti-nationals who are

waging war against the Republic of India. They are very famously known as the NAXALS in

common terminology and pose a great threat to the safe and smooth working of our nation.

They are an extremely big hurdle that India faces in this race for development and are the

biggest factors responsible for disturbing the growth of our nation's prosperity. This Naxal behaviour is more prevalent in the states that have a higher concentration of forests in which they set up their camps within cracks and crevices in the untouched and inaccessible regions to stay hidden away from the clutches of the government and the authorities who are behind them for bounty.


The Link between Today's Naxals and Tribals

India has been a tribal nation from time immemorial and the extreme diversity that we

possess in tribalism is as vast as the country itself. Every forest region in this country has its

tribal community and its religion and rules that guide the community as a whole. Nearly a

large chunk of this community has largely been subjected to racial and religious harassment

from the upper caste Hindus, Muslim invaders, and the British. They in all times have been

kept away from commercial forms of business and education right from the Vedic era to the

British raj. Hence it is not surprising that they are unaware of the workings of the world

today. Also as the jungle has always provided them with the necessities that were rejected by the following people they have become overly dependent on the jungle for survival. In

current times various procedures regarding environmental protection have come into being.

These safety standards have become an obstacle for these communities to function in the

traditionalistic way of functioning that they have been following for the last few thousand

years.

In this period of unrest concerning discriminatory racial and religious treatment, unfair

sudden changes in government policies, unfair and forceful religious conversions, rapid

deforestation by individual industrialists, etc. these tribals have been made to believe that the government is the Villain and the Naxals are the heroes who would save them from these

tyrants and their torture. These Naxals on the other hand encourage the tribals to refrain from taking part in a civilized society like elections, rejecting hospitals and also rejecting the

police and the judiciary under the pretext that they belong to the Government of India who is working for their detriment and extinction of their tribal values and culture. Because of the

same reason, these tribals are unaware of the workings of normal civilized society and most

importantly their rights that would exist only in such a civilized society. The Naxals

encourage them to refrain from availing education programs provided to them by the

government and in case such programs are availed by the tribals, these Naxals see to it that

enough blood is shed to shut them up permanently. They also offer lucrative jobs to the

people belonging to these tribal communities and pay them huge sums of money in such a way bribing them into working for them by selling false stories about the government and its

working.

The Naxals are destroying a large chunk of young men and women belonging to this creative generation. It's a waste of brainpower for this country and the nation should take up its guns and bullets against the Naxals and put an end to them forever. In the case of Lohadi Yadav vs The State of Bihar on 29 January 2020 which is an extremely recent case, the facts revolve around a large-scale Naxal ambush which even involved planning concerning the bombing of a huge commercial bridge. This is the scale at which Naxals operate in this country.


Deforestation and its Effects

Deforestation is a major problem that all countries from around the world are facing but none like how India is facing. The current rate at which deforestation is taking place in this

country has raised many eyebrows. In all, International development is good for a nation

however, harmful development can cause many large scale problems, the speed at which the

quality of air in this country is dropping is threatening the lives of our future generations and

we must act now or never. For this case, the Forest Conservation Act of 1980 had been

passed to slow down the process of deforestation in our nation. As mentioned in the case of

T.N. Godavarman Thirumulpad vs Union of India & Ors on 12 March 1947 through W.P.

202/1995 the issue regarding the safety of our future generations and the relevancy of the act was challenged on the basis that is the government competent in its way of interpreting

various environmental acts along with the much-discussed deforestation act. In my opinion

even today after much long the government is not trying its best in bringing about much-

needed amendments that can bring about a positive change in the lives of the people who

were kept in mind during the passing of the act. It's up to the government to bring about a

positive change in the lives of the tribals who are the people who should reap the most

benefits out of these acts as deforestation is one of the most major problems they face.

Tribals due to the conditions they have been exposed to are poor, uneducated against strong politicians, builders, bureaucrats, etc., the government should safeguard the weaker sections of the society and must give them more leeway and allow them to comfortably discuss and showcase their problems.


Rights of Tribals

As clearly mentioned in the Indian Constitution, the Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension

to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 very famously known as the PESA act and the Panchsheel

Principles set down by PM Jawaharlal Nehru guarantee protection to tribal people in the

In the Republic of India, a vast majority of these tribes are collectively identified under Article 342 (1&2) as “Scheduled Tribes”. India has also ratified itself to The Scheduled and Tribal

Areas, Indigenous and Tribal Populations Convention, 1957 (No. 107) which is a part of the

International Labour Organization (ILO) which was adopted with the clear view to protecting

Indigenous populations from oppression and discrimination.

In India, tribals have been oppressed and discriminated against for a very long time. After

Looking at the hierarchy of this nation we can say that they belong to the lowest of the low

category and require a significant push to make it up the ladder of competition when it comes to acquiring jobs, placements, and whatnot. It is a given fact that the government has indeed helped benevolently in bringing out an upliftment in the lives of the people belonging to the tribal community however it is not enough to make a significant change. It's not just the duty of the government but also of the tribals to put in some effort to uplift the community they belong to. For this education is a very important weapon that can accelerate this at a very fast pace. However, it's up to the people to avail these weapons and make a suitable shift in their lives when it comes to availing these opportunities that have been set down on their table.

We cannot expect the government to do everything, the people should also take equal interest in improving their lifestyle. Tribals should come out of their shell and look at the world from a different perspective. Today they look at technology with alarm and terror however it may be their saviour to bring about a resurgence in tribalism in India. Today more and more people are acquainted with platforms like YouTube and Google and through these platforms, tribals can get a glimpse perhaps into their lives and reflect on their rights and wrongs.


Conclusion and Final Thoughts

Where ever Naxals exist there also exist military personnel who are deployed to safeguard

the tribals and civilians of the region against the strong and tactical forces of the Naxals,

however in many cases the thing happens in another way round where the military personnel

take advantage of the meekness and simplicity of the tribals and exploit them

indiscriminately. Also under the pretext of eviction with some kind of grant of some sort

from the government, they are duped and fooled and all their assets are taken into custody by someone who is not at all a tribal. So, the government must look after every citizens of the nation, tribals being rightful citizens should not be subjected to this kind of treatment, and the government must intervene in this matter and bring about a permanent solution so that the vicious circle which entwines the Naxals, tribals and Deforestation can be halted.


Author: Sonam Sanjay Pandey, Research intern, Stambh Organization India

Soham is a student of FY B.com LLB, DY Patil Deemed to be University School of

Law.

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