Human Rights Forum calls for inclusion of Non-Schedule Adivasi villages in 5th Schedule | Visakhapatnam News – Times of India

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Human Rights Forum AP&TS Coordination Committee member VS Krishna was addressing the protest camp being organized by the adivasis.

VISAKHAPATNAM: It is high time the State government fulfilled its promise to include non-Scheduled villages in the Fifth Schedule so as to undo a historic injustice done to the adivasis, said VS Krishna, Human Rights Forum AP&TS Coordination Committee member.
Krishna was addressing the protest camp being organized by the adivasis at Jaggudoravalasa village in Makkuva mandal of Parvathipuram Manyam district on Sunday. The protest has been held for nearly 22 months (started on November 29, 2020).
Extending solidarity with the struggle of Adivasis, Krishna explained how the Fifth Schedule area is of a unique and exceptional nature endowed with explicit Constitutional recognition. He said grave injustice was done to adivasis for many decades because of non-inclusion in the Fifth Schedule of those villages that were predominantly adivasi.
He recalled that the State Cabinet, had in resolution No 58/76 in the then undivided AP on March 10, 1976, requested the Central government to include 805 Non-Scheduled adivasi villages in the Scheduled area. The same was sent to the Centre in November 1980 but so far not a single of the proposed adivasi majority villages have been included in the 5th Schedule. Had that been done, adivasis resident in those villages would not have continued to suffer immense injustice.
Of these 805 villages, there are 553 in Andhra Pradesh. Krishna said as a consequence of this neglect, caused because of political opportunism and bureaucratic apathy, adivasis in these villages were deprived of Constitutional guarantees and protective legislation. They were unable to access developmental programmes and welfare measures meant for Adivasis resident in the 5th Schedule areas. Because of non-implementation of statutory rights for adivasis, their resources in the Non-Scheduled areas were being plundered by non-adivasis.
The HRF functionary said there was a short notice question (no. 74) that came up for discussion in the State Assembly on March 13, 2007 when YS Rajasekhar Reddy was Chief Minister and Redya Naik the Tribal Welfare Minister. They gave the express assurance that justice would be rendered to the adivasis and they would make all efforts to get the Non-Scheduled villages included in the Scheduled area. However, this failed to happen and as a result adivasis continued to be deprived of rights and authorities bestowed upon them by the Constitution. He urged the State government to gather details diligently and truthfully and to send the relevant proposals to the Centre without further delay.
In fact, the State government had directed all ITDAs to focus upon Non-Scheduled villages and to forward requisite proposals after conducting Grama Sabhas. However, ruling party legislators and powerful non-tribal interests were obstructing this process in some districts, he alleged. This was highly regrettable, he said and clarified that as per guidelines issued by the Central government, consent of the MLA was not required for inclusion of villages to the 5th Schedule. This must be rectified, and a proper and comprehensive list must be sent to the government, he demanded. EOM


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