INDORE: Barely a fortnight after launching a campaign on social media for fielding right tribal candidates in assembly elections, young tribals, fighting for reforms, held a mahapanchayat in Indore demanding separate tribal schools, measures to conserve rich cultural heritage, lifestyle and rituals.
The proceedings of the conference went viral on You Tube. Tribal youths from different parts of the country and some even from abroad got in touch with those present at the conference to suggest improvement. Dr Hiralal Alawa of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) said the campaign for the educated tribal candidates was well received and till date around 12,000 educated tribal youths have ‘liked’ it on Facebook and hundreds of them turned up at the conference.
“Educated tribal youths need to participate in electoral politics to highlight issues and rights of tribals in assembly and Parliament,” Dr Alawa said, adding it is wrong to say educated tribal youth are not interested in representing their people. Instead, he said, political parties want tribal leaders who can be easily manipulated.
Explaining why they are stressing for educated tribal candidates, Dr Alawa said in the country tribal children are the biggest sufferers of malnutrition and every year lakhs of tribal children die despite a huge financial allocation for their welfare. But representatives failed to address issues.
Jitendra Rana Bheel, who works as a nurse in Jaipur, said a tribal has to struggle even for a caste certificate. In the absence of education and awareness, tribals have to struggle to get benefits they are entitled to.
Keshav Prashad, a banker from Jaipur, said many tribals are being killed and put behind bars on suspicion of supporting Maoists and they are killed by Maoists for supporting police. “Innocent tribal are victimized by both Maoists and police,” he said, adding human rights violations are rampant in tribal areas and all these can be stopped only with the help of education.
Tribal youths demanded tribal leaders should force governments to take steps for conservation of tribal history, literature, culture and rituals. Separate tribal schools should be started to prevent extinction of tribal language and culture. To achieve these goals, tribal youths have decided to hold online discussion and exchange ideas.