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- 02 Dec 2019
- 3 min read
Why in News
Recently, the Union government withdrew amendments to the Forest Rights Act (FRA), 2006 which would have diluted tribal rights over forests. These amendments evoked sustained protests by tribal and environmental activists.
- The state government of Jharkhand tried to amend the Chotanagpur Tenancy Act, 1908 and Santhal Parganas Tenancy Act, 1876 to facilitate easier land acquisition norms which added to the problem. They were also withdrawn later on.
- However, these decisions gave rise to the Pathalgarhi incidents in the tribal belt demanding implementation of the FRA and provisions of the Panchayats (Extension of Scheduled Areas) Act (PESA), 1996.
- Birsa Munda’s struggle against the exploitation and discrimination against tribals led to the passing of the Chotanagpur Tenancy Act in 1908 which restricted the passing of land from the tribal people to non-tribals.
- The Santhal Parganas Tenancy Act, 1876 prohibits the sale of Adivasi land to non-Adivasis in Santhal Pargana region along Jharkhand's border with Bengal.
- It is a protest in which tribal people embed stone slabs (pathals) on the outskirts of a village or area, demarcating the limits of where their writ runs, prohibiting the entry of any institution connected to the state.
- It is mainly concentrated in the four districts in the State— namely Khunti, Gumla, Simdega and West Singhbhum.
- In Munda tribal custom, placement of a huge stone marks the death of a person. The Pathalgadi movement draws on this tradition of honouring the community’s ancestors.
The Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Area) Act, 1996
- It safeguards and preserves the traditions and customs of the people, and their cultural identity, community resources, customary mode of dispute resolution.
- PESA empowers Gram Sabha/Panchayat at an appropriate level with the right to mandatory consultation in land acquisition, resettlement and rehabilitation of displaced persons.
- It seeks to reduce alienation in tribal areas as they will have better control over the utilisation of public resources.
- It will help minimise exploitation of tribal population as they will be able to control and manage money lending, consumption and sale of liquor and also village markets.
- It promotes cultural heritage through the preservation of traditions, customs and cultural identity of tribal population.