Tribal and Dalit rights organisations have called for an all-India bandh on March 5 to demand that the Centre promulgate two ordinances to secure their rights that have been affected by Supreme Court decisions: the first to secure the forest rights of tribals, and the second to ensure fair representation in UGC faculty posts.
They have also demanded that the government establish the Indian Judicial Services under Article 312 of the Constitution, for recruitment in higher judiciary posts to ensure inclusion of SCs, STs, OBCs, minorities and women.
The call for the nationwide strike comes in the wake of a recent Supreme Court order to carry out eviction of tribals and forest dwellers, whose claims over forest land were rejected under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006. Read in Malayalam
Though the Supreme Court stayed the order last week, tribal rights groups have demanded an ordinance, stating that there is still a looming threat of evictions.
Omprakash of Adivasi Adhikar Andolan, which will organise protests in Madhya Pradesh, said, “We were always assured that everyone will be given pattas for the land they occupy but that was never done. Now the government wants to take away our land…”
Several Bahujan groups will also be part of the protests, especially in view of the Supreme Court’s recent dismissal of a review petition on a 13-point roster, which will affect the chances of SC, ST, and OBC candidates to take up faculty posts in universities. Their demand is for an ordinance that will overturn the 13-point roster for department-wise recruitment system in universities.
The daylong bandh will culminate in petitions, with these demands being submitted to district administrations at the local level, and to the President and Prime Minister in Delhi.
In the national capital, the protesters are set to march from Mandi House to Parliament Street.