Congress MP Mr Rahul Gandhi on Sunday argued that Adivasis (tribals) must get the rights to water, forest and land, education and health. He accused BJP of its efforts to erase the real identity of Adivasis by calling them, forest dwellers.
‘’Tribals are the owners of the country but BJP is working to erase their real identity by calling them forest dwellers so that they are not tribals but should stay in the forest forever so that they don't get ownership rights. Adivasis are Adivasis for Congress and will remain Adivasis. You must get the right to water, forest and land, but along with that, you should also get all the rights to education and health,’’ said Mr Gandhi. He was speaking at the gathering of tribal working women in Jalgaon Jamod in Buldhana district during his last leg of the 14-day Bharat Jodo Yatra in Maharashtra before entering Madhya Pradesh.
‘’Tribal culture and history are important for the country. Their relationship with the environment is strong and that is important. Tribals have a different language, clothes and way of life but they are not different from us, they belong to us,’’ said Mr Gandhi.
‘’Congress gave the Panchayat Extension to Scheduled Areas (PESA) Act 1996 and the Forest Rights Act for tribals. However, it is not given to you as it is your right,’’ remarked Mr Gandhi.
‘’Adivasis took the first step on this land but the Prime Minister pronounced a new word for tribals Vanvasi. The two words Adivasi and Vanvasi have different meanings. Adivasis are owners and Vanvasi means one who lives in the forest. If the forest is vanishes, adivasis will be in danger. The PM is giving your rightful forest to some industrialists. Your existence is under attack,’’ he told the participants.
‘’The Congress party gave women representation in politics by giving reservations to women in local bodies. Congress has done the work of giving justice to women, tribals, dalits and deprived sections of society. However, BJP's attitude towards girls and women is different. Girls are blamed by saying that girls' clothes are responsible for rape. Rapes don't happen because of clothes, it's not the girl's fault, if anyone is a criminal, he is a rapist. BJP insults women, they don’t respect women,’’ claimed Mr Gandhi.