Report of a Fact Finding Team

January, 2015

On December 23, the Bodoland autonomous region of Assam and some adjoining areas suffered an eruption of ethnic violence, particularly in the two districts of Kokrajhar and Sonitpur. These outbreaks of violence have been a disturbingly recurrent feature of the quarter-century long campaign for autonomy in the districts north of the Brahmaputra. Between January 10 and 12, a fact finding team constituted by the Delhi Solidarity Group comprising senior journalists Seema Mustafa and Sukumar Muralidharan, and human rights worker Harsh Mander, visited the villages ravaged by the killings as well as relief camps where terrified residents had fled. The team was assisted by Shefali from the Delhi Solidarity Group and Mangla Verma from the Centre for Equity Studies. In Guwahati, Kokrajhar and Sonitpur, the team was rendered invaluable support, assistance and guidance by Raju Narzary of North East Research & Social Work Networking (NERSWN) and Abdul Kalam Azad from Aman Biradari.



The Extent and Nature of Individual Tribal Land Alienation in Fifth Schedule States in India

A study undertaken by Centre for Equity Studies, New Delhi, India.

Mohd. Ali Faraz, Rajanya Bose, Sajjad Hassan and Sandeep Ghusale

March 2016

This is a report on the situation of tribal land alienation in India. Recent literature and public policy debates have focused attention on development- induced land alienation – large tracts of adivasi land acquired by state or negotiated by private parties, for setting up development projects, with no or very modest returns for adivasi, individually and collectively, and mostly, adverse after-effects. What has been missed in this, admittedly important debate, is the significant alienation that adivasis suffer across the country due to factors not necessarily directly related to large development projects and acquisitions of land related to those. Adivasi land is alienated also in small trickles, one family at a time, through the actions and inactions of state agents, lawyers, real estate brokers and land-hungry rich, acting in collusion, through individual purchases and acquisitions, mostly illegal and unrecorded, to deprive the often poverty stricken adivasis of what is her source, not just of sustenance but also identity and cultural moorings. Indeed, even the stories behind the relatively minuscule number of ‘legal’transactions between adivasis and non-adivasis, are in fact, studies in fraud and deceit, with adivasis being roundly shortchanged at every step. ‘Non-development’induced adivasi land alienation has been a common, often un-recorded and under-reported phenomenon, for generations.The cumulative scale of these, is equal if not wider, than that of development induced ones.



The Untold Story of Hindukaran (Proselytisation) of Adivasis in Dang: A Report

Citizen’s Enquiry Committee


A people’s investigation was undertaken regarding plans to organise what is being described as a massive Shabri Kumbh in the tribal district of Dangs in Gujarat, on Feb 11-13, 2006. Organisations affiliated to the Sangh with the open support of the BJP state government are strenuously mobilising around 5 lakh adivasis and Hindutva activists to attend this gathering, in a remote and socially and environmentally highly sensitive and vulnerable forested region. This report presents the findings of this investigation.

Unequal destinies

Harsh Mander

AMONG India’s most dispossessed children are those born into tribal homes. Often raised close to nature in increasingly threatened and rapidly depleting forest habitats, they are more likely than most other children in India to be hungry and malnourished, to not receive health care when they are sick, to not enter or remain in school, and to die too early as compared to other children, including even highly disadvantaged children who are born to other historically oppressed groups such as dalit children.



Lost Livelihood

Harsh Mander

The Hindu, 2015

The Adivasis of Central India, who settled in the tea gardens of Assam decades ago, are still devoid of their basic rights. This article briefly explores the history and context of Adivasi exclusions in Assam.

The Jarawa of the Andamans

Rhea John and Harsh Mander*

India’s Andaman Islands are home to some of the most ancient, and until recently the most isolated, peoples in the world. Today barely a few hundred of these peoples survive. Tis report is about one of these ancient communities of the Andaman Islands, the Jarawa, or as they describe themselves, the Ang.

Tribal Development Policy in India

Harsh Mander

Constituting about eight per cent of the total population of India, the tribal peoples are among the most vulnerable groups in the country. Not only do they share with other disadvantaged groups the common travails of economic deprivation, they also face perennially grave threats to their cultural integrity and socio-political freedoms. This paper will try to summarise the legislative and public policy interventions of the Indian state in relation to its tribal populations.