Several villages in Jharkhand have resorted to Pathalgarhi – a tribal tradition of erecting stone slabs to demarcate the area of their villages’ jurisdiction, declaring their autonomy and self-rule in the areas under the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution.
In these localities, no outsider including the government servants are allowed. In one such case of perceived transgression, five girls working with an NGO, were gang-raped by the miscreants in one such village.
From various sources, it has come to be known that tribals are not happy with the state and central government as they feel ignored, marginalized and have been experiencing the plunder of their resources on which traditionally they enjoyed control. They hold new laws and developmental activities responsible for their plight.
Suppose you are a DM in one such affected district where this movement is going on, what strategies will you adopt to tackle the issues on short term as well as long term basis. Give justification for your strategies.
Delineate various approaches
Give suggestions to state government
Give proper justification
This will help in correct understanding of their grievances/issues/dissatisfaction with government. It may be possible that the reason lies in historical injustice meted out to the tribals, but this cannot be understood without empathetic understanding.
Involving all the local stakeholders including NGOs, tribals, etc. to deliberate on their plights and bring out appropriate intervention. Also there is a need to identify vested interests, if there are any.
Holding a brainstorming session with local administration so that their attitude towards tribals/locals can be moulded and they should be asked to be more humble and sensitive while dealing with the tribal community.
Promising them for their say in development and governance so that their self-respect and dignity is ensured.
Focusing on aspects like school, hospital, farm-land, livelihood etc.which can be addressed with immediate intervention.
Local administration to behave with respect/sensitivity and should be asked to participate in their local cultural programmes.
Strong hand approach
Dealing firmly with vested interests if any and not allowing any such elements to derail the soft approach of the administration.
Flaws with the implementation of laws like PESA, Forest Rights Act etc.should be identified and necessary steps should be taken to make implementation more effective and accommodative.
Suggestions to state government
Considering the tribal community as important stakeholder in policy-making, policy-implementation, policy-monitoring and evaluation so that alienation/communication gaps between government and the tribals can be minimized.It will also promote a sense of participation.
Government cannot govern and bring development unless there is a true respect for jal, jungle and jameen and therefore such approach of development should be incorporated while framing policy/laws/rules which gives true respect for jal, jungle and jameen.
Application of force should be with extreme caution and resorted to as the last option.
No development can be justified if it results in people losing their self-worth, dignity, ownership.This is one of the reasons people start disrespecting the law of the land.
Therefore it is important for any development process to take into consideration the rights of custodian of resources.