Quotes from the 2-day national convention held on July 8-9, 2001, to protest against attempts to amend the Fifth Schedule of Constitution of India.
Adivasis speak against proposed amendments to the V Schedule
"I showed four leaves from the jungle to the forest ranger and asked him to identify the trees. He could not. "Nahi pata to jungle aapka kaisa hai? (If you do not know, then how is the forest yours?)", I asked."
- Faguaram Gond, Dhamtari diistrict, Chhatisgarh
"It is only with the vote of the people that a government is made. But where the adivasis live there are no facilities. We are able to survive only due to the natural resources - or lands, water, forests. Now the Government wants to take even these from us. a lot of our land has already been taken away by non-adivasis. How are we Adivasis to live? We are told we cannot collect wood from the forests where we have been living for generations, nor graze our goats - we want to know how were such rules made? We will break such rules. We will fight for our rights".
- Harmibai, Kotda, Rajasthan
"Even when our areas are surakshit(protected), outsiders have come and taken our lands. What will happen when such areas are made samanya (ordinary)? All our sampati (property) will be snatched and our rights taken away. With our lands gone, our paramparik padhati (traditional self-rule systems) will also go and so will our pahchan (identity). I want to say that all Jharkhand should be made a scheduled area."
- Paulose Gudiya, Paraha Raja, Ranchi, district, Jharkhand
"Adivasis do not like to live under anybody's control. The Fifth Schedule is like an umbrella for us Adivasis. We will fight against amendments in the Fifth Schedule at all costs."
- Anthony Lakra, Netarhat, Jharkhand
"We Adivasis are the original inhabitants of our lands. Jal Jungle Jameen hamara hai! Hamara gaon mein hamara raj! (Water, forests and land are ours! In our villages, Our Rule!)
- Harendranath Murmu, Dissum Pargana of Hos, East Singhbum District, Jharkhand
"The British could not occupy Adivasi areas. Our ancestors never accepted slavery. That is why the Constitution of India conceded that in the adivasi areas, Adivasis are the owners of the natural resources. This will remain as long as the Fifth Schedule remains. Atal Bihari Vajpayee has invited the multinational companies but we will not allow them to enter. If our land is taken, we will be like a fish without water."
- Mangalarai Munda, President of Munda Baisee Parha, Simdega District, Jharkhand
"The area where i come from in Orissa is being speedily industrialised. Land is being grabbed. When we fight for our rights, the government pressurises us and lodges false cases against us".
- Lawrence Lakra, Orissa
"Over and over again I have been demanding that we should have inalienable rights over our lands. Without land we Adivasis cannot live. For this however much we have to fight, we will fight, and we will fight together! Nalguru unte santa, le kunte chinta! (If we are four then it is festive like a weekly market, if not then it's sad!)
- Sambe Pollana, Nimmalapadu Village, Visakhapatnam district, Andhra Pradesh
July 2001, New Delhi
Related: Adivasi issues page on India Together.
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