The district administration of Barwani in Madhya Pradesh has served Valsingh Saste, an activist of Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sangathan with an externment notice under the Madhya Pradesh Rajya Suraksha Adhiniyam, 1990.
In the BJP ruled state of Madhya Pradesh, the state administration has launched a systematic attack on the Adivasi communities throughout the state. Adivasi communities are being illegally evicted and are subjected to sustained harassment and even violence by those in power.
The externment notice is a deliberate attack on the assertion of rights by the Adivasis in the region where Mr. Saste works. For over two decades, Mr. Saste, as an activist of JADS, has played a crucial role in organising Adivasis across Nimad. Today, Adivasis across Nimad assert their rights over their Jal-Jangal-Zameen, and lead struggles for their constitutional rights — after generations of exploitation by corrupt government officials and local political and social elites.
JADS in a statement has said that the fact of Adivasis organising threatens the hegemony of undemocratic and anti-constitutional forces who wish to subjugate and crush Adivasi assertion of their rights.
Externment Notice: An Attack on Adivasis Assertion of Rights
Mr. Valsingh, along with fellow activists and members of JADS, has been thoroughly involved with the passage of important legislation like the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) and the National Food Security Act (NFSA). These laws have been implemented on the ground, only through the continuous, organized struggle of Adivasi communities.
Earlier, false cases were slapped against Mr. Valsingh and other members of JADS for asserting the rights of the Gram Sabha over local resources and working to stop illegal commercial calcite mining, sand mining, through peaceful struggles. All the cases resulted in acquittal.
Most recently, they were leading protests against the denial of ration to over 4000 Adivasis – in just 15 villages of Pati block.
Leading such struggles for fundamental rights of people and the rights of the Gram Sabha over Jal-Jangal-Zameen resulted in a spate of violence, false cases, and even imprisonment, all engineered by corrupt government officials and political forces who see Adivasi mobilisation as a threat to years of unhindered exploitation and control over Adivasis in their own lands.
‘Being a prominent activist of Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sangathan, (Valsingh) has committed ‘heinous crimes’ of bringing people for protests, rallies, demonstrations, that have ‘disturbed’ the functioning of government departments,’ the externment order reads. The order goes on to call him and his other JADS activists hooligans and accused them of creating ‘terror’ in the region, murder, and attempt to murder.
This is not merely an attempt to harass Valsingh Saste, but an attempt to subjugate Adivasis who ‘dare’ to stand up against exploitation, and instead demand their constitutional and fundamental rights, while holding the government and its administration responsible for the systemic marginalisation of Adivasis. These are not only atrocious charges but constitute an atrocity under Section 3(1)(p) of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, JADS said in a statement.
JADS has urged all democratic forces of the country to speak up against the continuous attack on the constitutional and organized struggles of Adivasis in Madhya Pradesh and demanded the externment order on Valsingh Saste is immediately repealed.