Underlining the need to strengthen the tribals, Dalit leader Prakash Ambedkar has said they should be given autonomy by forming autonomous tribal councils as per the provisions of the Indian Constitution. He said there is a clear provision in the Constitution of India about formation of autonomous bodies in the tribal-dominated parts, so that they could frame their own laws and run the administration.
“However, this provision has not been implemented as yet. Tribals should, therefore, come forward and press this demand forcefully,” he added. Ambedkar was speaking at a programme held on Wednesday to mark ‘International Day for the Indigenous People’, observed every year on August 9.
The culture and heritage of tribal community is entirely different from the other segments of the society, he said, adding tribals are the worshippers of nature and natural resources and have every right to protect it. “The very existence of the tribals depend on these natural resources. Hence, they should be the masters (of these resources),” Ambedkar said.
He criticised the government policies and claimed that by handing over the forest and minerals to a handful of corporate just for mining, grievous injustice is being meted out to the tribals. “Tribals have a different identity and this identity needs to be maintained. The government should enact a separate law for the tribals,” he said.