Murmu for raising 'Apartheid' issue in International tribal meet

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Jamshedpur, Jan 3 (UNI) Jharkhand Disom Party (JDP) chairman Salkhan Murmu today urged tribal leaders, particiapting in the ongoing International Tribal Meet in New Delhi, to discuss the attack on tribals in Assam recently and their ''Apartheid-like treatment'' by the government.

The prominent tribal leader said instead of adopting formal resolutions, the four-day meet, where 22 nations are taking part, should initiate concrete steps to ameliorate the ''pathetic'' conditions of tribals world-wide in general and India in particular.

Talking to mediapersons here Mr Murmu, who visited Assam recently, lamented that the issue was not discussed seriously in Parliament.

''Even the Assam government and the Centre are not taking the issue seriously,'' he rued and termed their attitude towards the adivasis as ''Apartheid-like''.

The former BJP MP also held the judiciary responsible for ''not taking cognizance'' of the tribal issues, including the Assam incident, in which a teenager was striped by locals in Guwahati.

''The meet must give a serious thought to the Assam incident and raise the issue in the international forum,'' he opined.

Mr Murmu also pointed to the displacement problem of tribals for the setting up of big projects and lack of a national rehabilitation and resettlement policy.

''Tribals are the worst suffers due to the projects and according to a recent survey conducted by Internatinal NGO Action Aid and two other NGOs, 1.4 million people were displaced in the past 10 years of whom 80 per cent are tribals,'' he added.

He also alleged that despite the constitutional provisions of nine states under the fifth scheduled area, which recommends 'peace and good governance' with the supervision of the respective governors and the President of India and active cooperation with the members of Tribes Advisory Council (TAC), it was not being followed.

The JDP leader stressed the need for formation of national tribal party to exert pressure on the government to resolve the problem of tribals, including granting Scheduled Tribes status to the tribals of Assam and Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

He said if the government failed to accord ST status, the Joint Action Committee, an amalgamation of tribal parties and organisations of Assam, Jharkhand, Orissa and Andaman and Nicobar, would launch an indefinite economic blockade from January 27 in those states.

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