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Massive Protest by Tribals against 'Fake Tribals'

Author: Dr Pramod Kumar
Publication: Organiser.org
Date: November 16, 2018
URL:      http://www.organiser.org/Encyc/2018/11/16/Massive-Protest-by-Tribals-against-Fake-Tribals.html

Spending money from own pockets, about 15000 tribals from various parts of Maharashtra organised Massive Protest March in Mumbai on November 15 demanding derecognition to fake tribals who are enjoying lavish life by securing government jobs through fake tribal identity. The protesters demanded the sacking of all the fake tribals from jobs and recruit real tribals on those posts

Over 15,000 tribals from various parts of Maharashtra conducted a massive march towards Mantralaya demanding derecognition to the non-tribals, who have entered in various government jobs by securing fake tribal certificates.

Named as ‘Vanva’ (wildlife) the protest march was organised by Maharashtra unit of Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram, which is engaged in thousands of health, education and tribal rights projects for tribals in the tribal areas.

The protest march was taken out from Jijamata Udyan to Azad Maidan. After the March, a high-level delegation of the tribals called on Chief Minister Shri Devendra Fadnavis and handed him over a memorandum listing all their demands. The Chief Minister listened to their demands patiently and assured to remove all 11,500 people who have been identified as working on fake tribal identities and recruit new tribals on those posts by December 2019.
 
According to senior Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram worker Shri Govardhan Munde, there are thousands of fake tribals in the state. “The government has identified over 11,500 fake tribals so far. We suspect this number could be much higher. We expect the state government to take stern action against the fake tribals,” he said adding that the fake tribals have managed to get government jobs in large number and they are now living a lavish life at the cost of the real tribals. This generates a wrong perception that the social status of tribals has improved. Shri Munde listed Manerwarlu, Tadvi Bhil and Machchimar Koli as fake tribals. “Some Muslims have also registered themselves as ‘Tadvi’ by forging documents. It is an injustice to the real tribals. We have been fighting against this injustice since two decades, but the government is moving very slow on the front of punishing the fake tribals,” Shri Munde added.
 
“There are about 60,000 fake tribals in the state. The government constituted scrutiny committed has identified 11,500 persons only who are working on various posts on the basis of fake tribal documents. On our petition, the Supreme Court had directed the state government to remove all such people from their posts, punish them, fine them and recruit the real tribals on all those posts. We have urged the Chief Minister to act on the SC directions. The scrutiny committee headed by Vasav Patil has found that the fake tribal certificates were issued even through the schools which did not exist at all. About 18 government officers have also been founded involved in this scam. We have urged the government to accept the Vasav Patil Committee report and initiate action against the culprits forthwith,” said Shri Girish Kuber, Akhil Bharatiya Hit Raksha Pramukh of Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram while talking to Organiser on phone. Shri Kuber also urged the state to ensure that no fake tribal now get the government job in any department. He said the CM
 
Other Demands
 
During the protest march, some other demands were also raised. They included speeding up of the process of awarding forest rights, effective implementation of the PESA Act, documentation of tribal arts, formation of a research centre to study and preserve the folk arts among the tribals, erecting memorials of tribal warriors, action against those who are creating hurdles in implementing schemes for the tribals and solution to the issues pertaining to scholarship and fees of the tribal students. The Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram is not happy with the slow pace of awarding the forest rights to the tribals. There are around 50,000 claims in this regard. However, the government has been able to clear only around 15,000 of them so far.

Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram Maharashtra president Shri Chaitram Pawar said they also demanded the abolition of the Village Forest Act 2014, which violates the central Act in this regard. The government has only now postponed its implementation, but we say that it should be withdrawn with immediate effect. The CM has agreed to withdraw it during the discussion. The issue of rehabilitation of displaced tribals was also raised.
 
Spending from Own Pocket
 

All 15,000 tribals, who joined the protest march, spent from their own pocket for their travel to Mumbai. The Kalyan Ashram workers only arranged for their two-time meals. “We are working as a mission. We want to be self-reliant in our battle with the government,” said Eknath Waghe Guruji, a resident of Pen (Raigad) who joined the march.
 
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