Press Release

CPI(M) Protests against Attempts to Alienate

Tribals from their Lands

A three-member delegation of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), consisting of Sitaram Yechury (member, Polit Bureau), Y. Radhakrishna Murthy (member, Andhra Pradesh Secretariat of CPI(M) and member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha) and Kunja Bojji (member, Andhra Pradesh State Committee of CPI(M), Convenor of AP Girijana Sangham and Ex-MLA) met the President of India today and presented the enclosed memorandum.

The memorandum highlighted the CPI(M)’s irreconcilable opposition to the intention of the Andhra Pradesh state government to amend the AP Scheduled Area Land Transfer Act of 1959 and Article 1 of 1970 Act, in order to allow multinational corporations and private capital to acquire tribal lands for mining purposes.

The alienation of tribal land is prohibited under the Indian Constitution and this has been upheld by a number of High Court and Supreme Court judgements. In order to subvert the existing protection provided to the tribals, the Andhra Pradesh state government is proposing to bring a legislation to amend the Act. Thus, the Andhra Pradesh government is seeking to deprive the tribal population of its inalienable right guaranteed by the Indian Constitution.

The memorandum suggested that the mining and developmental activities in these areas may be conducted by tribal cooperatives who must be provided with the necessary financial and managerial assistance by the government and public financial institutions. These cooperatives, in turn, can enter into agreements with various parties in pursuit of this objective. This will ensure that the gains from such developments will accrue to the tribals and not to multinational corporations and private capital.

The delegation impressed upon the President of India that if one state in the country can succeed in alienating tribals from their lands, then this would have a cascading effect all across the country adversely affecting the livelihood of the tribal population.

The delegation sought the intervention of the President of India to exercise his Constitutional right and not sanction such amendments to the Acts which will deprive the tribal population of their right to their land.

The President of India responded sympathetically and assured the delegation that he would take up the matter with the Government of India.