Expressing serious concern over the growing terrorist activities in Vanvasi areas, the national convention of Akhil Bharatiya Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram held in Bhiwani, Haryana, from July 22 to 24, has demanded that all the state governments should take all possible steps to block the entry of foreign missionaries, foreign funds and their misuse, extortion by terrorist outfits and forced conversion in Vanvasi areas. The convention urged the central government not to hold any dialogue with NSCN (IM) on the foreign soil. The convention called upon all the constitutional organisations, Vanvasi communities, their traditional organisations, youth and all the nationalist forces of the country to work unitedly to save the country from the dangers posing today.
?This convention wants to attract the attention of the country to the fact that when security forces take any action against terrorists, a large number of so-called national and international human rights organisations start making hue and cry and a section of Indian media also joins them. But when dozens of innocent Vanvasi women, children, elderly people and security personnel are killed in Chhattisgarh and the north-east by the separatist Maoists, all these organisations and media become a mute spectator. Does the life of these poor and innocent people have no price?? asked a resolution adopted at the convention.
The convention was inaugurated by noted Jain saint Acharya Mahapragya and Paramhans Hajoor Shri Kanwar Maharaj of Radhaswami Satsang. More than 1200 Kalyan Ashram workers participated in it. Shri Madhubhai Kulkarni, Akhil Bharatiya Bauddhik Pramukh of RSS, addressed the concluding session. All the office-bearers of Kalyan Ashram including president Shri Jagdevram Oraon, general secretary Shri Gunvant Singh Kothari, joint general secretary Shri Kripa Prasad Singh and organising secretary Shri Somyajulu were also present at the convention.
Expressing concern over the growing terrorism in the north-east the convention demanded the central government to expose the anti-national forces creating problems in the region. ?The incidents of Chingmeirong Ronomei village in Manipur and Tirap and Changlong districts in Arunachal Pradesh are a shame on any civilized and independent country and show the real face of the so-called secularists. The forced conversion and separatism have made the condition of Arunachal Pradesh and for its peace-loving local janjati communities very peculiar and the day is not far when Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim will also go the Nagaland way,? the resolution added. The resolution demanded the government to create employment opportunities for youth living in Vanvasi areas, give priority to land reforms to stop the lands going out of the hands of Vanvasis, recognise their possession over forest products, minerals and other natural resources and put an end on corruption so that Vanvasis can get real benefits of developmental schemes.
The convention also demanded that the central and Chhattisgarh governments should make proper arrangements for rehabilitation, security and employment of Vanvasis and also implement effective schemes to end terrorism so that the displaced people could return to their villages. The convention called for making immediate arrangements for food, medical facilities and also protection from rain for the people living in relief camps.
In another resolution, the convention strongly emphasised that the Government of India should accept the amendments suggested by the Joint Committee (JC) and also place the Scheduled Tribes (Recognition of Forest Rights) Bill-2005 in the Ninth Schedule of the Constitution to prevent the courts from passing orders against regularisation of land rights as strongly recommended by the JC. The Bill already produced in Parliament and cleared by the Joint Committee of both the houses of Parliament, is still waiting sanction of Parliament. The JC has suggested a number of important amendments including the change in the title of the Bill as the ?Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest-Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Bill 2005. These suggestions and amendments will go a long way in setting right the impediments created by the rules notified under the Forest (Conservation) Act 1980 and pronouncements of the apex court. The first major amendment is to extend the benefit of the proposed legislation to the traditional forest-dwellers apart from STs. The second is to give pattas to forest-dwellers who had occupied forest land before December 13, 2005, the date of introduction of the Bill in the Lok Sabha, instead of the cut-off date (October 25, 1980, the date of the commencement of the Forest Act 1980). ?If this problem which has been pending for the last 26 years and is one of the main causes of unrest in the Vanvasi areas is resolved, it will bring peace and prosperity,? the resolution said.
About the cultural identity of Vanvasi communities, another resolution expressed concern that the administration, governments and also the courts have recognised the problem of conversion as merely a problem of law and order. Conversion is creating so many problems in the total structure of Vanvasi communities and the incident of Dang, (Gujarat), Jhabua (Madhya Pradesh) and Orissa are its burning examples. The convention said ban on illegal conversion is a must to avoid conflicts in Vanvasi areas. The convention also demanded the central government to enact an anti-conversion law and also laws to keep the converted people out of the scheduled Vanvasis.