Mayawati

Recently, Mayawati has supported the NDA’s presidential candidate, Draupadi Murmu, saying that her party and its policies have always been pro-tribal. Although this statement of Mayawati seems very natural and expected, the reality is completely opposite. Mayawati’s four times Chief Ministership period shows that Mayawati’s party and its policies have been utterly anti-tribal, as is evident from the following description.

According to the 2011 census, the tribal population of Uttar Pradesh is 1,07,963 which is about 1% of the total population. In Uttar Pradesh, 35.30% tribals are landless and do manual labour. They are only 8% in government, semi government and private sector jobs. There are 81.35% tribals whose monthly income is less than Rs.5000. Of these, the percentage below the poverty line is 44.78, whose monthly income is only Rs 816. 79% of tribal households belong to the deprived category. From this you can see that despite Mayawati being the Chief Minister from 1995 to 2012, what is the plight of the tribals of Uttar Pradesh. In fact, neither before nor during Mayawati’s reign, anything was done for the upliftment of the tribals. In its tribal areas, not only the natural resources but also the people inhabited by the tribals were badly exploited. Neither development of tribal areas was done nor empowerment of tribals. As a result, the tribal and tribal areas are the victims of extreme backwardness.

Sonbhadra, the district with the largest tribal population, is one of the most backward districts of not only Uttar Pradesh but also of the country. The districts of Uttar Pradesh which have substantial tribal population lack basic facilities like roads, hospitals, schools, safe drinking water, electricity, irrigation, public transport etc. In a large area of Sonbhadra district, the amount of fluorescein in drinking water is dangerously high, due to which the bones of many villagers have become fractured. In this district, there is not a single degree college for the education of girls in the tribal dominated tehsil Duddhi. Even today, many villages are not connected by road to the tehsil headquarters and patients have to be brought on cots to the hospital, which are completely lacking. In the absence of safe drinking water supply, the tribals are doomed to drink unsafe water from Chuad, river and Pokhara. There is an acute shortage of water during the summer days. Arhar, gram and tomato produced by this district have to be sold at the cost of shells in the absence of a market. Although Sonbhadra district is the largest centre of electricity generation, most of the tribal villages still do not have electricity. In the local big industries, the tribals get only contract labour jobs. Due to the pollution caused by indiscriminate and illegal mining, the lives of the tribals are becoming unsafe. The government receives maximum income from the district of Sonbhadra, but only a small part of it is spent on the development of the district. In this way, the tribal areas of Uttar Pradesh are being continuously exploited and the tribals are falling behind day by day.

Let us now see what Mayawati’s government did for the tribals. First of all, Mayawati had repealed the Scheduled Castes/Tribes Prevention of Atrocities Act 1989 in 2001, saying that it was being misused while she had no power to do so. Uttar Pradesh is similarly ahead in Dalit oppression. Dalits and tribals had to face a double whammy due to Mayawati’s ban on the above Act. On the one hand, cases of atrocities against them were not registered and on the other they did not get the compensation they could have received. Eventually, this illegal and anti-Dalit/tribal law of Mayawati was canceled by the Dalit organizations by challenging it in the High Court. Can anyone imagine that a Dalit Chief Minister can do so much anti-Dalit/Tribal work that Mayawati did.

After the separation of Uttarakhand from Uttar Pradesh, the reservation of tribals in the Lok Sabha, Vidhansabha and Panchayati Raj in Uttar Pradesh was abolished. After this no government made any attempt to give/get reservation to the tribals of Uttar Pradesh. Our erstwhile party Jan Sangharsh Morcha made efforts and got orders from High Court for reservation for tribals in Panchayati Raj in 2010, but Mayawati went to the Supreme Court against it. Due to this this reservation could be implemented in 2015. Our erstwhile party was fighting to reserve two seats in the Legislative Assembly for the tribals, but it is a matter of regret that Mayawati’s BSP, Congress, SP and BJP were continuously opposing it. She protested this not only to the Election Commission but to the High Court and the Supreme Court. Finally, despite all the opposition, in 2017 our party All India People’s Front was successful in getting reserved two seats in the Obra and Duddhi Legislative Assembly for the tribals of Uttar Pradesh. From this, you can guess how true Mayawati’s claim of being a Dalit benefactor is.

As it is well known that land is very important in the rural environment. Since most of the tribals live in rural areas, the ownership of land is very important for all of them. Very few families have ancestral land among the rural people. Most of the people have settled on forest land but they do not have any ownership rights over it. That is why the Forest Rights Act was enacted in 2006 with the objective of providing stability to the people living on the forest land, according to which the tribals and forest dwellers living in the forest were to be given the right of ownership of the land in their possession. For this, according to the prescribed procedure, the land claim of each family was to be prepared and sent to the Revenue Department after the investigation and recommendation of the Village Forest Rights Committee, where the claim was to be approved after verifying it, so that they would get the ownership rights on the said land. .

The Forest Rights Act came into force in 2008, when Mayawati had a very strong government in Uttar Pradesh. In the same year, 65,300 claims of forest rights were prepared under this law in Sonbhadra district alone, but in 2009, 53,000 of these claims, ie 81%, were rejected. All India People’s Front, through its organization Adivasi-Vanvasi Mahasabha, raised its voice against this action of Mayawati government, but Mayawati government did not pay any attention to it. Finally, we were forced to go to the Allahabad High Court. The High Court, accepting our request, ordered the Uttar Pradesh government to re-hear all the claims in August 2013, but by then Mayavati’s government had gone and Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi government had replaced it. We requested the Akhilesh government to take action as per Allahabad High Court order but they did not listen to us and did not settle any claim. It is clear from this how the government of Mayawati and Akhilesh ruthlessly denied the rights of land to the Dalits and Adivasis of Uttar Pradesh.

It is clear from the above description that first Mayawati and then Akhilesh Yadav’s government have deprived Dalits, Tribals and traditional forest dwellers from the right of land under the Forest Rights Act and the sword of eviction hangs on them in the BJP government. It is Gram Sabha land, which is still in the possession of the oppressors, to the landless during her rule, how much their economic condition would have changed.

It is clear from the above brief discussion that Mayawati’s claim of being a tribal benefactor is completely false. In fact it is the compulsion of Mayawati to support the BJP candidate as she has done directly/indirectly in the recent elections/by-elections and will continue to do so.

S R Darapuri, National President, All India People’s Front


Countercurrents is answerable only to our readers. Support honest journalism because we have no PLANET B. Subscribe to our Telegram channel


GET COUNTERCURRENTS DAILY NEWSLETTER STRAIGHT TO YOUR INBOX


Tags:

One Comment

  1. S. N. Murthy Ch says:

    Great work with Eye opening information. The author may try to get it translated into some regional languages and see it published in some vernaculars.