From our Correspondent
KOKRAJHAR, October 24: People’s Democratic Movement for Bodoland (PDMB) president Jebraram Mashahary said the largest concentration of indigenous people was found in the seven States of Northeast India, and the so-called ‘central tribal belt’ stretching from Rajasthan to West Bengal. In mainland India, the Scheduled Tribes are usually referred to as Adivasis, which literally means indigenous people.
With an estimated population of 84.3 million, they comprise 8.2 per cent of the total population. India has several laws and constitutiol provisions, such as the Fifth Schedule for mainland India and the Sixth Schedule for certain areas of Northeast India, which recognize indigenous people’s rights to land and self-governce. The Indian Government voted in favour of the UN declaration on the rights of indigenous people (UNDRIP) in the UN General Assembly in 2007. The laws aimed at protecting indigenous peoples have, however, numerous shortcomings and their implementation is far from satisfactory, pushing them for movements of various kinds aimed at asserting their rights.
Mashahary said the Boro Indigenous People’s 84 years continued struggle for self determition in the form of a separate state of Bodoland would not go in vain as Articles 2 and 3 of the Indian Constitution and Articles 3 and 4 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP) could not be vague.
UNDRIP Article 3 says, “Indigenous peoples have the right to self-determition. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.” Further, the UNDRIP Article 4 says, “Indigenous peoples, in exercising their right to self-determition, have the right to autonomy or self-government in matters relating to their interl and local affairs, as well as ways and means for fincing their autonomous functions.”
People’s Democratic Movement for Bodoland (PDMB) therefore questioned the Government of India, “Having such constitutiol provisions and strong intertiol declaration like UNDRIP, why is India shying away to concede the legitimate demand of Bodoland? We are of this opinion that by granting Bodoland, the Government of India will lose nothing, rather it will have more feathers in its intertiol credibility cap under the able leadership of our Prime Minister rendra Modi.”
PDBM is all set to intensify its next course of vigorous democratic agitation activities with effect from the third week of November.