1 November 2018 IndiaLand An indigenous movement in Jharkhand is reminding the Indian authorities of their constitutional duty to protect tribal lands. But the government is persecuting tribespeople for standing up. Rohini Mohan reports. At cold daybreak, the men in Alaundi village emerged sleepily from their mud houses, chewing neem-twig toothbrushes and hugging shawls closer. Wordlessly, they walked through shrubby jungle, towards the warmest spot in a golden paddy field, where the March morning sun shone bright on the tribal council chiefs: three men sitting with a notebook, a cell phone and a laptop. With the cell phone, secretary Ashirwad Horo called all the laggards, and in the notebook he wrote the meeting’s agenda, ‘Adivasi versus the State of India’. He opened the laptop to a PowerPoint presentation with taut summaries of sections of the Indian Constitution that held both promise and betrayal – the rights of indigenous tribes to land and forest. A month ago, the village had inscribed these lines on a three-metre-tall stone slab it erected at its entrance. ‘No one expected it would make us “anti-nationals”,’ said Horo. Pathalgadi monoliths Since September 2017, over 200 tribal villages like Horo’s in Khunti district, an hour from the capital… Read full this story
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