IFS man raped me in Kenya: Adivasi Maid

A domestic help from Jharkhand has lodged a police complaint with the help of an NGO alleging that a former IFS officer had raped her, locked her in a room and gave her sedative drugs during his stint in Kenya.

The complaint has been registered at Moti Nagar police station in west Delhi. The police said the investigations are on but no case has been registered. The woman had been working at the diplomat’s residence in Kenya for the last three years. Her complaint says that she had not been paid her monthly salary and the diplomat allegedly raped her for three years.

The diplomat has denied the allegations. The woman came to Delhi in 2006 and lived with one of her aunts. “My aunt worked at the house of the diplomat’s friend. He asked my aunt whether I could accompany them to Kenya since he had a wife and two children and he required a domestic help, she agreed and I went with them,” said the woman.

The diplomat told her that living abroad would help her learn English, which would be an advantage when she comes back to India. But the woman was hesitant and told him that she would first work for six months to see how she things work out and in case of a problem, she would come to India to which the diplomat reportedly agreed. But soon after they reached Kenya in February 2007, the diplomat started misbehaving with her and also stopped her salary.

December 4th, 2010 / DC Correspondent

Adivasis’ News @ http://www.fb.com/Adivasi.Tribal.Indigenous.India


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1500 Santhal Adivasis evicted from forest land of Assam

BONGAIGAON, Nov 3 / Assamtribune – The Forest department under Haltugaon Forest Division in the western part of the State has burnt down houses of more than 1500 Adivasi families of 33 forest villages in Longchung Forest area in the name of an eviction drive from forest land. Under open sky and beside their belongings which were burnt to ashes, many malnourished mothers were noticed standing like statues with their newborns in their lap. Small children were seen having shelter under wild bushes. School books of children, clothes, crops, bicycles, ploughs were lying burnt. Several pre-primary and primary school houses, temples and churches were set on fire by the forest workers, locals of this forest area alleged.


Some victims even complained of misbehaviour by the eviction party. No prior notice was served to these innocent poor Adivasis by the Forest department. These Adivasi people have been living in these forest villages since generations. “Since Adivasis are forest dwellers, they have every right to settle in forest land and the Forest Right Act, 2006 has confirmed this right” many leaders of Adivasi organisations pointed out. Hence violation of this Act is an offence. Therefore, the Forest department and other security forces who are evicting the Adivasis should be punished, the leaders demanded.


Chief of Birsa Commando Force, Birsing Munda in his reaction said that these Adivasi people have been living in forest land since 1974. On the other hand, AASAA president Borko Charmako said that the eviction drive should stop immediately otherwise a massive agitation will be launched. The BCF chairman Durga Hasda expressing his anger said that in every eviction in BTC only Adivasis are targeted.
Adivasi Cobra Military of Assam (ACMA) chairman Jabrias Xaxa said that their organisation will bring this matter to the notice of State and Central Governments. However, Adivasi Sewa Samiti president Boyel Hembram termed this eviction as a political conspiracy.

It is to be mentioned that, all the victims of this eviction drive are the supporters of BTC chief Hagrama Mahilary. In the last BTC poll they cast their vote for Hagrama. But, now they are helpless. Not a single BPF party leader is standing beside these poor victims in this crucial time, the Adivasi leaders rued.


Already a massive ‘green hunt’ is going on in the dense forests of Kokrajhar and Chirang districts by the timber ‘Mafias’. Sources said that the Forest department, police and politicians are in a nexus and favour these mafias and helping deforestation. “Adivasis are not involved in deforestation, they know sustainable use of forest products. So, what purpose will be served by evicting Adivasis from their dwellings, questioned the Adivasi leaders.


Protesting this eviction drive and demanding early rehabilitation of the poor Adivasis of those forest villages, eight Adivasi organisations have jointly called a 12-hour Assam bandh on November 4. Later, if the situation warrants, they will launch a strong democratic agitation.


Two churches razed amid eviction of Santhal tribals in Assam


Christiantoday / 3 November 2010: A total of about 1,215 families have been affected and the victims include children and pregnant women.


Two churches were allegedly burnt down as the Assam Forest Department pounced upon houses of tribal families living in Lungsung area of Kokrajhar district, Assam. According to sources at the site, a Catholic church at Kodomtola Village and a Pentecost church at Gadatola were burnt while an eviction team savagely burnt over 400 hutments belonging to the Santhal community.


A total of about 1,215 families have been affected and the victims include children and pregnant women. Supposedly, more than 200 men were employed to evict the Adivasis who although were living in Assam for decades had to flee their homes as they were yet to be granted the tribal status.


But a fact-finding report by two activists, informs that the Adivasis occupied the area much before 1965 and in 1974 were also promised land entitlements by the government. The report informed that the eviction team ruthlessly dealt with the Adivasis and even arrested about 44 men who stood against the women being molested. "The victims comprise of women, children, babies, lactating mothers, pregnant women, sick and infirmed. They have lost everything and are spending cold nights under the open sky," said the report.


The leaders of the villages have reported to the local media but so far there has been little response. Apart from the two churches, eight primary schools as well were burnt in the assault.


The two activists – Satyanath Tudu and Stephen Lakra – have called on NGOs to spring into action by providing food and shelter to the 45 villages affected. In addition to that, counselling and medical care must be provided to the raped victims.


Though 40 to 50 lakh Santhals had lived in Assam for between 50 and 100 years the Assam government had not given them tribal status, he told media. Santhal tribe is the largest tribe in India, found mainly in the Indian states of Jharkhand, West Bengal, Orissa and Bihar.



Assam shuts against eviction of Adivasis


IndianExpress/05Nov2010: Normal life was disrupted in several districts of Assam on Thursday following a 12-hour bandh called by seven Adivasi organisations to register their protest against eviction of about 1,500 families of the community from reserved forests in Kokrajhar district last week.


Bandh supporters took to violence in several districts, damaging government as well as private vehicles. In Lakhimpur district in eastern Assam, at least one person sustained severe burn injuries when people set his motorcycle on fire for allegedly defying the bandh. Bandh supporters also damaged vehicles in Dibrugarh, Udalguri, Sonitpur and Baska districts.


Former Jharkhand chief minister and Jharkhand Vikash Parishad (JVP) leader Babulal Marandi, who visited the affected area in Kokrajhar district Thursday, met the evicted Adivasi people and accused the state government and the Bodoland Territorial Council of particularly targeting the community.


Marandi said the Adivasis who were rendered homeless during the eviction had been living in those areas for more than three decades.

Khampha Borgoyari, deputy chief executive member of the Bodoland Territorial Council, said there was no question of discriminating against the Adivasis during the eviction drive. “The people who have been evicted in the past few days comprise Adivasis, Bodos, Nepali and Rajbangshis, and they had encroached the forest in the past four years,” Borgoyari said.


Giving a break-up of the evicted people, Borgoyari said while there were about 1,400 Adivasis families and 600 Bodo families apart from a few hundred Nepali and Rajbangshi families. “But it is a fact that most of the Adivasis are from West Bengal and Jharkhand,” he claimed.



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Why Adivasi Policeman got Killed in Bihar?


The Maoist act of holding four policemen hostage and then killing one, has set off a huge war of nerves within the topmost Maoist echelons. And it is this that is holding up release of the remaining three policemen, informed sources told HT on Sunday. The problem lies in the caste profile of those held hostage. One is a Yadav (Abhay Yadav), one a Muslim (Ehsan Khan) and one a Kayastha (Rupesh Kumar Sinha). The tribal, Lucas Tete was executed on Friday.


The killing of the tribal cop has set off a wave of revulsion in the Maoists’ liberated zones as far away as Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Orissa and Jharkhand. While mainstream tribal leaders in Jharkhand have condemned the killing of Tete, the tribal leadership within the Maoist echelons led by zonal commander Birbal Murmu has now laid the blame on Arvind Yadav, another zonal commander.

The body of Sub-Inspector Lucas Tete who was killed by the Maoists in Lakhisarai. The other three abducted policemen were released on Monday. File Photo: Special Arrangement 
According to news filtering out of the jungles of Kajra, Murmu wants all other hostages eliminated to stave off tribal fury against the rank and file of the Maoists. He has also blamed Arvind Yadav, who led the ambush, which led to the killing of seven policemen and abduction of four, with shielding Abhay Yadav. If one hostage had to be killed, why were the others not eliminated as well: That’s the issue between the two influential Maoist groups.

The Maoists are now finding it difficult to eliminate the Yadav in custody because it is from this caste that their top leaders in the Magadh and Kaimur areas come from. Then, killing a Muslim is as dangerous as killing a Yadav. It is from the Muslim community that many leaders in the Maoist ranks and its front organisations come from.

“Violence against entrenched political castes and communities such as Yadavs and Muslims is something the Maoist leadership will not find easy to condone,” said an intelligence officer on condition of anonymity.

“Politically, it could trigger a chain reaction that could isolate the Maoists from base support of the very people, who had hid, fed and transported them,” he said.

Source: September 05, 2010 / Hindustan Times

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Adibasi Girl MMS Video: Adivasi Girl Stripped & Molested on Walk of Shame

Adivasi Girl MMS Video: Adivasi Girl Stripped & Molested on Walk of Shame


A young adibasi girl in India was forcefully stripped, molested, to walk naked for almost 8 kilometer and blackmailed through MMS, being beaten and groped by group of hundreds of mocking men along the way, as punishment for falling in love with a boy who belong from another community.


Some of Indian Media and news paper reports said that the “some men recorded videos on mobile phones as the seventeen-year-old tribal (Adivasi) girl spread over a period of time the length of to the sound of beating drums.
Adivasi Girl Stripped & Molested on Walk of Shame

The stripped, molested, to walk naked for almost 8 kilometre and blackmailed through MMS incident occurred in month of April 2010, but the adibasi (tribal area) girl was too distressed to tell police at the same time as the tribal area village leaders kept silent.


Police acted against village leaders after being made aware of the incident’s recorded video with sound being sent around in a MMS clip dubbed named as “Adibasi girl”.


Birbhum district of West Bengal police officers arrested five men on Monday 9th August 2010 in this forcefully stripped, molested and naked shameful walk case.


Indian Media and news paper reports described the stripped, molested and naked shameful walk video as horrendous, noting how the girl had “a shocked, departed look on her face as she staggers along covered in dust muck tracks”.


The news article in Indian Media and news paper reports described how she tried to protect her humility but was grabbed by hundreds on men who stripped and molested her, was laughing, “as the drums beat up a emotion”.



Development of Jarawa and Jharkhandi Adivasis in Andaman islands, India



Adivasi – Tribal India Group – http://adivasi.ozg.in



Development of Jarawa and Jharkhandi Adivasis in Andaman islands, India


The Jarawa Adivasis were among the first people to migrate from Africa to Asia but, their way of life is threatened by increased contact with the outsiders. Their future now depends on the decisions of the Indian government.


The Jarawa Adivasis population of around 300 people consists of dark skinned men and women similar to their African ancestor. They live in the forests of Andaman islands in isolation and misery.


The Jarawa Adivasis have been scheduled as a Primitive Tribal Group (PTG) in the Constitution of India, being hunter-gatherers and till recently, hostile to all outsiders.


During the British time a large population of Jarawas Adivasis, scattered over the entire Andaman group of Islands, were decimated in a bloody battle. Compounded by the effects of inbreeding, and tough living conditions in the forests of Andamans, the Jarawa Adivasis population decreased year by year to stand at 300 only.


The govt of India, guided by a collective decision of experts, has adopted a policy of isolation / no contact with the mainstream population, the drastically reduced hostility has emboldened both sides of the populations into frequent meetings, therefore, a situation of conflict, which does not pose that much of a problem but, the friendly interaction are resulting in inculcation of undesirable knowledge and habits as well as injection of race impurity. Therefore, it can be concluded that the isolation policy of the Govt Administration has failed totally and if the current policy and treatment continues, it will not take much time in total annihilation of the Jarawa Adivasis entity.


Demand for Development of Jarawa Adivasis seems to be questionable? —


The Member of Parliament, Bishnu Pada Ray has submitted the agenda points collected from the islanders for consideration of the Standing Committee Meeting of the Island Development Authority (IDA) meeting to be held in July 2010.


Agenda includes following considerable points for all concerned people –


Steps be taken to bring the Jarawa Adivasis up to the basic mainstream characteristics. Example can be taken from the treatment given to Birhor ( jharkhandi.com/birhor.aspx ) and Savar ( jharkhandi.com/savar.aspx ) Adivasis of Jharkhand in Singhbhum and Khunti districts. In a nutshell, children in the age of 6 to 12 years were weaned away from the Adivasis community and kept in a normal school atmosphere, where they were very quickly trained in personal hygiene, use of clothes and basic reading and writing skills. They were also exposed to eating habits of simple mainstream people and modern amenities such as television and motor vehicles. After 6 months they were returned to the Adivasis community and re-contacted after a month. When they were found to have lost some of their clothes and mainstream habits; it was also observed that members of the Adivasis community had acquired some of the mainstream characteristics such as personal hygiene and use of clothes.

The exercise of schooling the same children were repeated, this time over a longer period. Over time, trainers were able to infiltrate into the main pockets of Adivasis community and inculcate skills of personal hygiene, wearing of clothes and their maintenance, partaking of cooked food and basic agricultural and horticultural activities. The final result was training the entire population into a village identical with any other village of Adivasis population in Jharkhand.


A similar drastic mainstreaming treatment be given to the Jarawa Adivasis population to ensure their survival against the adverse effects of unregulated contacts with the mainstream.


Recognition of Scheduled Tribe status to immigrant Adivasis in Andaman:


The initial taming of the wild territory of Andaman Islands began under the experienced hands of the Adivasis workers (men and women both) from Jharkhand Region of Indian states – Jharkhand, Bengal, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh including Chhattisgarh, who were brought in as contract labour in Public works Dept (PWD) and Forest Dept. These Adivasis, popularly known as ‘Jharkhandi’ began with the small number of 400 families in 1918 brought by the British masters to work in timber industry.


Progressively, with the increase of labour requirement for settlement of large populations by the independent Indian government, the population of ‘Jharkhandi Adivasis’ stands at 70,000 i.e. more than 17% of the total population of A&N islands. The ‘Jharkhandi Adivasis’ are mainly Munda, Oraon, Santhal, Lohar, Kharia, Ho, etc. For more info about them, visit at www.jharkhandi.org


Jharkhandi Adivasis immigrants from the states of West Bengal, Orrissa, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Chhatisgargh who have left their homeland and families to work for development of the islands and have stayed here for long periods not given proper attention yet. Basically, shy in nature, they have not demanded for much unlike their counterparts migrated from other parts of the country, who have raised their demands and got lots of facilities.






Office Email: sudesh.kumar@jharkhand.org.in


Adivasi – Tribal India Group, New Delhi ( http://adivasi.ozg.in )



Posted in Adivasi, Adivasi.ozg.in, displacement, Jharkhandi Tribes, Jharkhandi.com, Jharkhandi.org | Leave a comment

The Adivasis of Bangladesh

In the beginning, for hundreds of thousands of years, forests and mountains nurtured human life. Civilization gradually lured many humans to concrete jungles. Today, we, the civilized people have coined terms such as adim or ‘primitive’, adivasi or ‘aboriginal’, and upajati or ‘tribal’ to define the various peoples who continue to cling to the natural life in forests or mountains. Such labeling, no doubt, satisfies our so called ‘civilized’ ego. The peoples so defined, strongly object to being referred to as ‘tribals’ or ‘aboriginal’ or ‘clans’.


They want to be recognized as separate ‘nations’ or ‘peoples.’ Ethnic groups of eastern Bangladesh call themselves ‘hilly people’ just as the Santals want to be known as ‘Santal’ only. Following the International Year of the Indigenous Peoples 1993, the ethnic people choose to be recognized as the! Adivasi’ or ‘Indigenous Peoples.’


The hilly peoples of Bangladesh live in the Chittagong Hill Tracts and Moulavibazar, whereas the Santals are seen in the northern districts of Dinajpur, Naogaon, Thakurgaon, Panchagar, etc. The Adivasis of the northern districts are divided into different ethnic groups such as, Santals, Oraon, Mundari, Mahali, Munija, Turi, Monipuri, Garo, Coch, Pahari. Of them Santals are the oldest and largest among the plains ethnic groups, numbering 2,02,162 (1991 Population Census). The Santals belong to the Austroaslatic language group and enjoy a rich heritage. Oppression by the Bengali village leaders are forcing Bangladeshi Santals to migrate to illdia in large numbers. Those who are staying back, are being lured into Christianity by the Christian missionaries.


The Santals are being forced to leave the forest, seeking means of livelihood. Forest is their natural home and it is the forest which brings harmony to the Santallife.


Adivasi scholar Anathbandhu Chatterjee points out that the Adivasi life is intrinsically linked with the forest. The forest in fact symbolizes the Adivasi life. Physical labor, community spirit and equality constitute the ethics around which the Adivasi life centers. These traditions are shared by Adivasi men and women alike. In the Adivasi society, emancipation of women is not required to be granted by anyone. The freedom is there as the most natural thing. The Adivasi woman is as free as the forest around her. She is a mother; at the same time she works as hard as the hardworking man.


For the Adivasi, labor and truth have the same meaning.


The main weapon that the Santal Adivasi uses for hunting and self-protection, is the bow and arrow. Made of locally available materials this weapon symbolizes the creation for them. The strong, curved bamboo stem of the bow, with tapering triangular ends symbolizes the male. The elastic string attached to it is the female.


A myth has it that at the beginning of creation, the string urged the stem to curve like a halfmoon so that she could join him. She told him their union would bring about creation. The male then bent down to the string and the bow was complete. The arrows shot from the bow similarly symbolize children. The female thus is given an equal place in the process of creation.


First came dance, then came songs and drums and eventually there developed a musical culture which has remained a part of the Adivasilife throughout the ages. The ‘primitive’ societies believe that dance has been derived from the animals.


The Chenchoa Adivasis of Assam believe that human beings learned dance from a pair of monkeys. Dance for them is not just a form of expression of joy, but it is essentially an offering or prayer to the creator. Ask any Monipuri in Moulavibazar and you’d hear the following myth: This earth was created by joint efforts of nine Laibung Thu or Gods and seven Lainura or Goddesses. In the beginning there was only water, deep and all enveloping. Then the Goddesses started dancing on the water. Fascinated, the nine Gods congratulated them by throwing handfuls of earth from the heaven. The earth fell into the water in the rhythm with the dance. Accumulated, this earth formed this world.


Ever since, the Monipuris regard dance to be divine and pure. Learning to dance is an obligation for every Monipuri boy or girl. The Monipuri dance is recognized as a classical dance form. Rabindranath Tagore introduced this dance to the world. Dancing is a ritual that must be performed in any religious or social ceremony of the Vaishnava Monipuri. The Monipuri dance reached its height in the 18th century, during the reign of King Chingang Khonuba. The king himself was a skilled dancer and introduced a few new dances such as Basantarush, Kuncharush, Bhaddi Pareng etc. The Monipuri dance has found different expressions. One learning this dance has to master at least 40 basic steppings / rhythms. There are more than fifty forms in the Monipuri dance. In the Mukhabodi dance, the dancer tries to express a woman’s responses to Krishna flute. The Monipuri today is taught in special dance schools or temples. The costumes for the dances are an art form on their own. For the Laihara Uba dance, they wear Fanek which is a dress depicting ancient designs of lotus and bees. The male dancers dress as the male characters of Mahabharata. The Monipuris are very fond of all six forms of Rush dance. This is performed at night. Along with it, in daytime they perform the Rakhal Nritya or ‘shepherd’ dance. The story goes that when Arjuna was staying in Monipur, his companion Krishna would play on the flute at night and Radha would come out of her house to join him in dance. Every year, the Monipuris of Bangladesh would celebrate that night in dancing and singing. The dancer’s hair is tied in a top knot which is covered with a golden and silver threaded (zari) head gear. The face is covered with a white vail. The blouse is of deep green with a deep green long skirt decorated with glitters and glasses. The border of the skirt is held with a wide stiff rim. This dress is called Kumin. Silver and golden sashes stream over the shoulders. Then there are the glittering ornaments. Ancient folk songs accompany the dances. The hill people of the Chittagong Hill Tracts also have a rich musical culture. There too, dances are essential religious and social rituals. In fact, ancient peoples all over the world hold the same significance for dance. As Hav lock Ellis wrote in his book ‘The Dance of Life’: “What do you dance? When a man belonging to one branch of the great Bantu division of mankind met a member of another, said livingstone, that was the question he asked. What a man danced, that was his tribe, his Social Customs, his religion, for as an anthropologist has put it, a Savage does not preach his religion, he dances it.” Though strongly object to the term ‘savage’ one cannot but agree with the observation.


The Chakma is the largest hill tribes of the Chittagong Hill Tracts. Their main dance is the Jum dance. Though their dances mainly center around the Mahamuni Fair, there are dances for all agricultural activities. The Buddhist religious ceremonies are also celebrated through dancing. The Chakmas have rich tradition of ballads and songs. Among these are: Radhamon Dhonupadi ballad, ChadigangChhara ballad, Banabera ballad, Fulpara ballad, Lakshmipara ballad, Chandbir Baramash, Kipabir Baromash, Meabir Baromash and Tanyabir Baromash. The Chakma language once had its own script called Ojhapata in which Chakma religious books such as Aghortara, lodishastra, Bhedtatwa, Tahnik Shastra, and others were written. During the British rule, the Bible was also published in Ojhapata script. Nowadays Chakma is written in BangIa script. The Chakma script is still being used by the village Ojha or shamans. The Chakma literature has a long tradition and is rich with myths, folklores, rhymes, riddles and proverbs. The Rangamati Tribal Cultural Center has published a collection Chakma Rupkahini by Bankimkrishna Dewan which gives us a glimpse of the Chakma folk literature. Gojen Lama written by Shadhak Shivacharan is a unique specimen of Chakma literature of the middle ages. The book is a tribute to the Creator. The modem era in Chakmaliterature began with poems of Chunilal Dewan, poet and painter, who was also the first Chakma lyricist.


The Marma people also have a tradition of dancing. The Marma women perform a dance drama/musical show called Pankho which depicts the life of Buddha and other mythological tales. Their singing is accompanied by traditional instruments such as Peha, Bung, Petla, Dugma and also western instruments like violin, clarionet, guitar and mandelin. They have folk songs as well as modem songs. The Tipra jum dance is linked with religious and agricultural rituals. Singing and dancing hold a special significance during the jum (slash-and-burn) cultivation particularly at the time of sowing. This dance is called Maikai which means the dance of sowing paddy. The harvesting is marked by a big festival of dancing and singing, called Mamita.


The Tipras have their new year’s festival which lasts for the last week of the old year. The dance which is offered to Shiva or the God Goraya as a gesture of welcoming the New Year, is called the Garaya or herbai dance. The dancers go from house to house and perform this dance during the days of the festival. The dance is enacted through mimes. The new year’s days are very sacred not only to the Tipras, but also to Chakmas, Marmas and Rakhains. The Deidak clan of the Tipra ethnic group has a death ritual of singing and dancing before the dead person. The song tells of lost hopes. The matriarchal Garo people also known as Mandi (human person) too perform many dances as religious rituals. There are separate dances for occasions like wedding, harvesting, sowing, funeral and many others. The Mandi have a rich tradition of folk songs too. The folk songs of all the different hill people are emotionally rich and aesthetically excellent. Unlike the classic Monipuri dance, the Chittagong Hill Tracts’ dances are marked by magic and frequent body movements. Faced with poverty, want, hunger and oppression, the age old religious and democratic solidarity of the Santal society is gradually breaking up. The brave people who once established villages, clearing out forests, are helpless today. Their songs tell of the lost hopes.


Tome Bimal Hasda of Birganj symbolizes the Santal today. Why did Bimal leave his village? “Because of poverty. The little land that we had was usurped by the moneylender.


” Santal folk songs tell of this oppression:


“We prepare lands


By clearing out forests,


The moneylender


Snatches away that land,


The santal is ‘murkha’ (ignorant, illiterate),


So lands are lost.”


Many Santals today are being driven away to cities in search of livelihood. Hard-working, honest, illiterate and poor, the Santals sell their labor in exchange for sustenance. In the land which originally belonged to them, they live unwanted, uncared for. But the Santals are fully conscious of their heritage. Goaded into it they can burst out in revolt, as they did in 1855 during the British rule. Thirty thousand Santals joined in that revolt and the British law could hardly curb them. The Santals fought with bows and arrows while the government forces used firearms. Ten thousand Santals were killed but in the end the British had to abolish slavery of the Santals and to establish a separate administrative area for them – the Santal Pargana.


The Santals of Bangladesh consider themselves to be Bengalis. As they wrote in an issue of the Santal language periodical ‘Hariar Sakam’ or ‘Sabujpatra’ in 1375 (BangIa): “The Santali is the oldest language of the Bengal. Thousands of years ago when the Aryans had not come to this land, our ancestors made this land livable. It thrills us to think that thousands of years ago when the full moon rose, they were our ancestors who leaving their huts gathered at the bank of a river or on the outskirts of a forest in this Bangladesh, singing, dancing, wearing flowered wreaths!


The language they sang was Santali. We are proud to think of that language and we are not proud to be Santalis but to be Bengalis.” The word Banga, which is the original root word for Bangladesh, Bengal or Bangladesh is derived from the Santali language. In Santali ‘Bangah’ meant Lord Protector, the Supreme God. So Bangladeshis their God granted shekter. Some scholars, however, say Bangla came from Santali Bang plus La – which means a huge plainland.


Like the hill people, the Santals too regard dancing as divine. They believe, human beings learned to dance from four gods: Marang Buru, Johar Era, Mareko and Gosain. They too have separate dances for separate occasions. Through dance they pray for rain, through dance they celebrate the spring season, through dance they usher in the harvesting.


The Santal Jhumur dance has found a place among the Bangalis too. It is called Jhumur because the dancers have strings of bells (Ghungur) tied to their ankles. This perhaps is the only Santal dance which is performed purely for entertainment. There are six forms of Jhumur dance; of them the most entertaining is the Bhaduria which is danced in praise of the monsoon. This dance is included in Hindu-Muslim folk culture of some areas. The Santals are gradually becoming conscious of their own language. They are realizing that not only for literature, they need this language to express their social and political demands. Consider this song originally written in Santali: “Do not take up other peoples’ tongue. Speak your mother’s tongue because that is the sweetest and the tongue of your father is like crystal clear water.” The people who are so conscious of their own language, have the potential to protest against all sorts of oppression.


We must not forget the call given out by the Santals in 1855:


“Listen, oh, listen,


you People of Dhanjur,


The drum beats


The tomtom beats,


Sido Kanhu, Chand Bhairo


Revolt revolt


Revolt revolt


Let us go quickly let us go quickly


Let us go quickly let us go quickly


Let us go quickly


let us go quickly.”


Before I conclude, I would like to put forward a question to the government: what the government is doing to preserve the culture of the hilly and Adivasi peoples? It remains a fact that their very existence is at stake today. The farmers are facing a glum future. The restriction on jum cultivation, the failure of different development projects and commercialization of forest land are baffling the Adivasi and hilly farmers. Their picturesque huts have become mere shacks today. (In Bandarban, the huge building for the local council and other administrative structures mock the poverty stricken huts of the hilly peoples). The denuded forests, the ripped apart nature stand witness to the destruction of these peoples. If all government efforts to safeguard the culture of the hill people are like the Tribal Cultural Institute of Bandarban, we have reasons to be skeptical. This institute has achieved nothing but some colored photographs of some festivals of the hill people. The dances and songs that the institute simulates do not reflect the true traditions of the adivasi peoples. Even the costumes are distorted.


Our request to the government: Please do not devastate the culture of these peoples in the name of reserving it. The government activities must take account of the real culture of these peoples.


Mizanur Rahman


The Article has been collected from “Bangladesh: Land Forest and Forest People”, Published by Society for Environment and Human Development (SEHD), Dhaka, Bangladesh.


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Adivasis women rape cases in Naxal den

Adivasis women rape cases in Naxal den

On September 21, 2007, the Adivasi gang rape victims of Vakapalli in Andhra Pradesh wrote a memorandum to the sub-collector of Paderu: ‘We, the Adivasi women of Vakapalli village who have been raped, wish to place before you the reasons why we have decided to go on an indefinite fast… On 20-08-2007, Greyhounds police (21 in number) raided our village and raped 11 women. We have brought this brutal and terrible act of the police to the notice of not just the government and the judiciary but everyone we could reach out to… When an incident like this takes place, the government should respond and take steps to ensure that the accused are punished… Over a month has passed since we were raped. A criminal case was registered but not a single accused has been arrested so far. On top of it, they are trying to make out that nothing has at all happened. … Will these laws and courts not do us justice? Will they only side with the police? In that case, at least take action under international laws if any. In case there are no such laws, then do us justice as per principles of natural justice.


‘If this system fails to give us justice and security, we, who are helpless, refuse to remain so. We are ready to even sacrifice our lives so that such brutality is not visited upon us and those like us ever again. We therefore humbly state that we have decided to sit on an indefinite fast.’


On May 22, 2010, three Adivasi women of Mukram village near Chintalnar, Chhattisgarh, said they were raped by members of the security forces. This was just over a month after the Maoists killed 76 jawans near Chintalnar. Reports said that 10 women were raped around Chintalnar but owing to a virtual police blockade, the reports couldn’t be verified.


These are not isolated cases. Four women claim to have been raped in Samsetti, Dantewada by Special Police Officers in 2006. Five women from Potenar said they were raped in the Jangla camp in 2005. Two women were raped by the Salwa Judum and SPOs in Lingagiri in 2006. Three women claimed to have been gang-raped at Tatemargu in November 2009 during a combing operation. The list is endless. And not even once were FIRs registered by police. Five girls from Potenaar testified to the NHRC’s enquiry team in June 10, 2008, but the team (comprising 15 police officials out of 16) inferred that the allegations could not be substantiated.


‘During the enquiry it was observed that there were many inconsistencies in the versions of alleged victims, in the petitions given by them, as well as in the statements of the alleged victims. These inconsistencies were with regard to the number of victims raped, number of SPOs who took them away from the camp, number of SPOs who actually committed the act and their identity, and the accompanying circumstances’, the report observed.


Yet nowhere did the NHRC report mention that rape didn’t take place. And it ‘recommended that a further enquiry may be conducted by an independent agency’. Nothing happened after that. The writ petitions in the Supreme Court that challenged the Salwa Judum had alleged of over 99 cases of rape. The NHRC enquiry team spoke to only five of the victims who were not even mentioned in the petition. Then, the team investigated only one other allegation of rape at the village of Pollampalli.


At Pollampalli, two women were allegedly raped and murdered but the NHRC report states, ‘The names of Bhusaki Bandi and Selam Bhima could not be identified as from this village. However, the villagers denied any incidence of rape in their village’. The NHRC team probably visited the wrong Pollampalli. There are two in Bastar, one in Usur Block and another in Konta Block.


Going by reports, rape is a part of everyday life for the Adivasi women of Bastar and, according to many, it is used as a weapon of war. Rape as a weapon of war was recognised by the UNSC in 2008. In the Red Corridor, the predominately non-tribal police force looks at the predominately tribal Maoists as an entity of its own. There is a definite tinge of racism and rape is a form of collective punishment. The three girls raped at Mukram on May 22 were accused of being ‘Maoist supporters’ and alleged to have helped in the Chintalnar attack.


The police have often claimed all these allegations of rape are baseless and that the Maoists motivate women to make such claims to undermine police morale and legitimacy. As it is owing to the stigma related to rape, as well as the further threat to their lives, the victim never comes forward. It took the women of Samsetti three years to come forward and even then the police didn’t lodge FIRs. They would eventually harass the women, detain them, and beat them after they lodged a case at the judicial magistrate’s court in Konta. The Maoists are not beyond rape either, even though they don’t use it as a weapon of war.


The Adivasis in Konta chuckle as I enquire about area commander Comrade Naveen. Naveen’s real name is Sodhi Gangaya and he hails from Curreygudem in Konta block, deep within the ‘liberated zones’. Comrade Naveen allegedly raped a girl in Curreygudem in 2008. When I asked if they had complained about it, they said, “Hum itne bade aadmi ke bare mein aesa kaise bol sakte hai…” (How can we say such a thing about such a big man?) Eventually, a relative of the girl complained to a senior Maoist and Naveen disappeared from the forest. He left the party and eventually became SPO Sodhi Gangaya. Tatemargu villagers recognised him on November 9, 2009, as one of the guides for the police contingent in the raid in which over 60 buildings were burnt, seven villagers killed, and three women allegedly raped.


How many Comrade Naveens exist among the Maoists? Perhaps just as many SPO Sodhi Gangayas amongst the police. How many Vakapallis will there be? In the end you are left with the thought that the only way may be to fulfil the promise in the letter: ‘If this system fails to give us justice and security, we, who are helpless, refuse to remain so. We are ready to even sacrifice our lives so that such brutality is not visited upon us and those like us ever again.’


Source: Expressbuzz / 11 Jun 2010 /
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