Jharkhand: CM Hemant Soren declared that 9th August will be a State holiday from this year onwards, in observance of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.
Although this year it falls on a Sunday, it will be a public holiday in Jharkhand from the coming year. He informed the media at Project Bhawan in Ranchi, that since Jharkhand has a large Adivasi population, it is only right that such a day be observed by the state.
The JMM MLA Sita Soren along with villagers of the Dumka district had requested the CM to make this decision, pointing out that Rajasthan and Chattisgarh already observe this day as a public holiday.
Out of the total population of 3.19 crore, 27 percent of the people of Jharkhand are Adivasis. The state has seen self-determination movements by the Adivasi population, such as the Pathalgadi movement, which resisted the grabbing of their land and resources by the State. Recently the central government started to auction off 20 coal blocks in Jharkhand as an ‘aatma nirbhar’ initiative, in response to which the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha called for a protest.
The UN General Assembly had passed a resolution in 1994 deciding that 9 August every year will be observed as the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. This date marked the first meeting of the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations of the Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights in 1982. The UN recognizes that throughout history, the rights of Indigenous people have been violated and today, they form one of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable groups in the world.
The theme for this year is “COVID-19 and indigenous peoples’ resilience”. According to the UN, the link between environmental damage and pandemics has been well known to lead research organizations. Indigenous people’s rights to land and resources are closely linked to environmental conservation and anticapitalism. In India, Adivasi movements throughout history have presented some of the strongest resistance to imperialist and capitalist forces and the degradation of land, forest, and water resources in their quest for profit.