• Indigenous peoples in India

    Indigenous peoples in India

Indigenous World 2020: India

In India, 705 ethnic groups are recognised as Scheduled Tribes. In central India, the Scheduled Tribes are usually referred to as Adivasis, which literally means Indigenous Peoples.1 With an estimated population of 104 million, they comprise 8.6% of the total population. There are, however, many more ethnic groups that would qualify for Scheduled Tribe status but which are not officially recognised; as a result estimates of the total number of tribal groups are higher than the official figure. The largest concentrations of Indigenous Peoples are found in the seven states of north-east India, and the so-called “central tribal belt” stretching from Rajasthan to West Bengal.

India has several laws and constitutional provisions, such as the Fifth Schedule for central India and the Sixth Schedule for certain areas of northeast India, which recognise Indigenous Peoples’ rights to land and self-governance. The laws aimed at protecting Indigenous Peoples have numerous shortcomings and their implementation is far from satisfactory. The Indian government voted in favour of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) with a condition that, since independence, all Indians are considered Indigenous. At the same time, the Government of India has increasingly been using the term “Indigenous populations”. For example, through a notification dated 27 September 2018, the Government of India created a High-Level Committee to look into the “social, economic, cultural and linguistic issues of the Indigenous population in the State of Tripura”.2

In a major development, the Government of India used the terms “Indigenous populations of North-Eastern States” when introducing the Citizenship Amendment Bill in the Lok Sabha (lower house of Parliament). Section 10 of the Statement of Objects and Reasons of the Bill states the following: “10. The Bill further seeks to protect the constitutional guarantee given to indigenous populations of North-Eastern States covered under the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution and the statutory protection given to areas covered under the ‘Inner Line’ system of the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873”. This is a major development in terms of the official recognition of Indigenous populations.

Legal rights and policy developments

In 28 February 2019, India’s Supreme Court put on hold its 13 February order directing 21 state governments to evict more than  a million tribals and forest dwellers and their families whose claims over the forest land had been rejected by the authorities under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act (FRA), 2006. The 13 February order came in response to petitions filed by wildlife conservation groups, who claimed that everyone whose FRA claim had been rejected was an “encroacher” and should be evicted. The stay order was passed after the central government filed a plea seeking modification of the 13 February order stating that FRA was “beneficial” legislation and that it should be construed liberally to help the tribals and forest dwellers who “are extremely poor and illiterate people and not well informed of their rights and procedure under the Act. They live in remote and inaccessible areas of the forest. It is difficult for them to substantiate their claims before the competent authorities.”3 The case is pending along with the stay. Nonetheless, a total of 1,753,497 tribals and forest dwellers whose claims were rejected as of 31 July 2019, as per data from the Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs,4 remained at risk of eviction.

India has been drafting a National Forest Policy since 2018 amid protests from Indigenous Peoples. On 19 July, the Union Minister of State in the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Babul Supriyo, informed the parliament that “no time has been set to the adoption of new National Forest Policy” and as of now “the existing National Forest Policy, 1988 is in operation”. The Minister had stated that the MoEFCC had prepared the draft National Forest Policy 2018 as a revision to the 1988 version with the basic aim of conserving, protecting and managing the forests as well as safeguarding the interests of tribals and forest-dependent people.5 However, experts disagree with the government’s assertion that the thrust of the draft of the new National Forest Policy is towards safeguarding the interests of forest dwellers and tribal people,6 and an early warning was submitted to the UN Committee on the Elimination of all Racial Discrimination by IWGIA.

In Assam, the state government published the final National Register of Citizens (NRC) in the state on 31 August. Out of the total 33,027,661 applicants, the names of 31,121,004 people were included and 1,906,657 people were left out. According to estimates, more than 100,000 tribals who are the original inhabitants of Assam have been excluded from the controversial NRC.7

On 21 October, the Assam government approved the “Assam Land Policy-2019” to address various issues confronted by the Indigenous people of the state, especially with reference to land. The new policy was based on recommendations from the “Committee for Protection of Land Rights of Indigenous People” constituted by the state government in 2017. In its report, however, the committee left the definition of Indigenous Peoples open to interpretation.8 Earlier in July, the Union Home Ministry had set up a High Level Committee to devise a mechanism to implement Clause 6 of the Assam Accord 1985, which provides for “constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards” for the Assamese people.9 The High Level Committee is yet to submit its report. On 15 November, the central government withdrew the controversial draft Indian Forest (Amendment) Act 2019. In a press briefing, the Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar stated: “We are completely withdrawing the draft amendment to the Indian Forests Act to remove any misgivings, the tribal rights will be protected fully and they will continue to be the important stakeholder in forest development”.10 The amendment bill brought in in March by the Government of India was criticised by forest rights activists and tribal organisations for authorising violations of the rights of Indigenous Peoples. In an important ruling, on 9 December the Guwahati High Court ordered the eviction of non-tribals and other persons “not eligible to hold possession of land” in the tribal belts and blocks protected under Chapter X of Assam and Revenue Regulation Act 1886 in response to a public interest litigation filed on the issue. The authorities are required to evict 101,723 non-tribals from 389,705 bighas of land in the tribal belt and blocks.11

In another positive development, towards the year’s end, on 29 December, the Jharkhand government decided to withdraw all sedition cases registered against tribals during the Pathalgadi movement and protests against the amendments to the Chotanagpur Tenancy Act (CNT) and Santhal Paragana Tenancy Act (SPT). The move came just hours after Hemant Soren, an Adivasi, was sworn in as the new

Chief Minister of Jharkhand. The Pathalgadi movement began in 2017 when stone plaques and signboards were placed in over 200 villages of Jharkhand, rejecting the authority of the central or state governments in those villages. The tribals accused the then state government of snatching the rights of the tribal people through amendments to the CNT and SPT laws. The then state government recorded a total of 19 cases of sedition against 150 tribal people.12

Violations of the rights of Indigenous Peoples by the security forces

The security forces continued to be responsible for human rights violations throughout 2019, including custodial death and torture of tribals. Some of the illustrative cases of deaths of tribals in police custody included Ramkishore Gond (26) at Vijayraghograh police station in Katni district, Madhya Pradesh on 13 January;13 Swamidin Baiga (32) at Tala police station in Umaria district, Madhya Pradesh on 7 April;14 Leela Adivasi (50) at Maharajpur police station in Sagar district, Madhya Pradesh on 15 April;15 and Pankaj Kumar Bek (30) at Ambikapur police station in Sarguja district, Chhattisgarh on 21 July.16 Meanwhile, some of those who were allegedly tortured in police custody included Peram Antony (25) at Tadepalli police station in Guntur district, Andhra Pradesh on 2630 May;17 Anup Rabha (26) at Tangla police station in Udalguri district, Assam on 5 August;18 R Babu (22), M Velu (29), S Ramu (30), V Velu (29), R Vijayakumar (30), V Shankar (30) and K Manikandan (35) at Ulundurpet police station in Kallakurichi district, Tamil Nadu;19 and Aaditya Chouhan (18), Vikas (19), Yashwant Chouhan (20), Rahul Chouhan (18) and a minor at Nanpur police station in Alirajpur district, Madhya Pradesh.20

Violations of the rights of Indigenous Peoples by armed opposition groups

Armed opposition groups continued to be responsible for gross violations of international humanitarian law during 2019, including killings. The Maoists continued to kill innocent tribals on charges of being “police informers”, or simply for not obeying their diktats. The majority of the victims were killed in Jan Adalats, ‘People’s Courts’ held by the Maoists. Some of the alleged killings by the Maoists in 2019 took place at Kasansur village in Gadchiroli, Maharashtra on 22 January;21 at Venas village in Nabarangpur district, Odisha on 11 February;22 at Lanji village in Balaghat district of Madhya Pradesh on 19 June;23 at Kukurkunda village in Malkangiri district, Odisha on 27 June;24 at Puttapadu village in Sukma district, Chhattisgarh on 10 July;25 at Veeravaram village in Visakhapatnam district, Andhra Pradesh on 17 July;26 at Kumkumpudi village in Vishakapatnam district, Andhra Pradesh;27 at Baskund and Gobardaha villages in Lakhisarai district, Bihar;28 among others.

Non-restoration of alienated tribal land

There are a plethora of laws prohibiting the sale or transfer of tribal lands to non-tribals and restoring alienated lands to the tribal landowners. These laws, however, remain ineffective, not invoked or with attempts being made to weaken them.

There are many cases of alienated tribal lands acquired through fraudulent means or by force that still remain to be restored to original landowners. Ironically, the government, which brought in the laws to restore such land to its original tribal landowners, failed to defend them in courts. For example, the Orissa High Court on 12 April ruled that the amendment to the Orissa Scheduled Areas Transfer of Immovable Property (by Scheduled Tribes) Regulation 1956, passed by the state assembly in 2000 would not operate retrospectively.29

On 17 July, 11 tribals belonging to Gond tribe were killed and 23 others injured when an influential village head and his men opened fire indiscriminately on Umbha village in Sonbhadra district, Uttar Pradesh. The tribals resisted an attempt by the village head, identified as Yagya Dutt, and his men to take possession of their land, where they had been living for generations. Following the killings, the police arrested 65 of the perpetrators. A Special Investigation Team (SIT) constituted by the state government found evidence showing the land had belonged to the tribals since pre-Independence. The SIT also found that the land was illegally registered in the name of a society in 1955 and later transferred to individuals. It was revealed that the tribals had filed complaints when the society was formed but officials paid no heed to their pleas. In 2017, the tribal families approached the then district magistrate but their claims were rejected on 6 July, 12 days prior to the killings.30 The state government paid compensation of Rs 18,50,000 to the family of each of the deceased and Rs 6,00,000 to each of the injured victims.31

In November 2019, during a visit to villages in Dantewada, Jagdalpur and Kanker in Chhattisgarh, the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes found that a significant number of tribal people were continuing to be affected by land acquisitions and land grabbing in the state.32 In Mizoram, tribals belonging to the minority Chakma community continued to be targeted. In December, over 100 Chakma families were forcibly evicted from Kamalabagan village near Demagiri (Tlabung) in Lunglei district by officials of the state machinery at the behest of nonstate entities. The villagers were forced to flee despite the village having been recorded in the 1951 census.33 The families were living in a temporary relief camp set up by Chakma NGOs in a nearby village at the year’s end.

Conditions of the internally displaced tribal peoples

The government has failed to rehabilitate tribals displaced due to both conflicts and development projects over the years.

Thousands of Bru (Reang) tribals have continued to live in deplorable conditions in relief camps in Tripura since their displacement from Mizoram in 1997. The much-hyped repatriation process of the Brus to Mizoram remained a failure due to non-fulfilment of the demands of the displaced people. In order to enforce the repatriation, the central government stopped the supply of rations and cash to the displaced people in the camps in October 2019. The Mizoram Bru Displaced People’s Forum claimed that six people, including babies, had died in the camps due to starvation following the central government’s decision.34 At the time of writing this article, an agreement had been signed to resettle the displaced Brus in Tripura.35

Tribals displaced due to the Maoist conflict in Chhattisgarh are still waiting to be rehabilitated. In July, the Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs and the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) asked Chhattisgarh, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh to conduct a survey to ascertain the number of tribals displaced from Chhattisgarh for their rehabilitation within three months. There are around 30,000 tribals who fled Chhattisgarh due to the Maoist conflict and who are currently living in deplorable conditions in 248 settlements in forests of Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Maharashtra. However, the survey had not been completed by the year’s end.36

Repression under forest laws

A large number of forest-dwelling tribals continued to be denied their rights in 2019. According to information available from the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, as of 31 July, a total of 4,237,853 claims had been filed under the Forest Rights Act, of which 41% had been rejected.37 According to the FRA, no member of a forest-dwelling tribe shall be evicted from land under their occupation until the recognition and verification procedure for settlement of forest rights is complete. However, they remain at risk of eviction despite having forest rights titles or pending claims. For example, the tribals of Pathrai village in Sarguja district, Chhattisgarh had to approach the Chhattisgarh High Court after the Chhattisgarh Mineral Development Corporation (CMDC), a public sector undertaking, started mining for bauxite in the area where some 50 individual forest rights titles have been granted and another 50 claims are pending under the FRA. Pertinently, the PSU had fraudulently obtained a “No Objection Certificate” from the Gram Sabha, whose consent is mandatory for any development activity under Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act 1996 On 3 December, the High Court ordered the CMDC to stop mining activity in the village.38

Situation of tribal women

Tribal women and girls in India are deprived of many of their rights. Both collective and individual rights are violated in private and public spaces.

Sexual violence, trafficking, killing/branding as a witch, militarisation or state violence and the impact of development-induced displacement, etc. remained major issues. In its latest report “Crime in India 2018”, the National Crime Records Bureau stated that 1,008 tribal women, including 399 children, were raped during 2018.39

Justice remained elusive or delayed for victims of sexual violence. On 5 February, the trial in the gang rape case of tribal women, allegedly by Greyhound Commandos during anti-Maoist operations at Vakapalli village in Visakhapatnam district, Andhra Pradesh in 2007, commenced at a special court after a delay of over 12 years. The trial finally began after a tireless struggle by the rape survivors. In August 2007, 11 tribal women were allegedly gang raped by 21 Greyhound Commandos, an elite anti-Naxal force of Andhra Pradesh.40 In Assam, two poor Chakma tribal girls who were victims of trafficking and sexual violence are yet to obtain compensation from the state government despite the intervention of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), acting on a complaint by the Asian Centre for Human Rights. The state government informed the NHRC that the statutory financial sanction under the SC/ ST Act had been processed but the amount could not be released to the victims due to a lack of funds under the scheme.41



The Naga inhabit a territory known as Nagalim, which is situated between China, India and Myanmar. They occupy an area of approximately 120,000 km². The Nagas form several tribes, primarily in the north-eastern region of India and north-western Myanmar.

Indo-Naga peace talks

Ever since the Framework Agreement (FA) between the Government of India (GoI) and the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM) was signed and declared on 3 August 2015, a sense of hope and optimism for a final peaceful solution has prevailed, particularly among the Naga people, amid tension and suspension largely due to failure of both parties to declare the content of the FA to the general public.

Naga Independence Day was celebrated across Nagalim (celebrated every year since 1947) on 14 August 2019, with continued hopes for a final peaceful solution. However, the tension and suspension turned to fear and chaos when the Interlocutor and Governor of Nagaland R.N. Ravi made it absolutely clear that the GoI would sign the final agreement with agreeable Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs) and take the necessary course of action against those in disagreement,42 thereby inking in 31 October 201943 as the deadline to end the seven-decade long issue, against the will and desire of the Naga people. Ravi’s statement was of some significance as, on 5 August, the central government announced abrogation of the special status given to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 and divided the state forcibly into Union territories.44 The general public was left in disarray (with zero knowledge of the FA) and, for once, expected the worst with the Armed Forces being strengthened in the state, tanks being seen on the streets and fighter jets hovering overhead.45

The Interlocutor and Governor of Nagaland called for a Consultative Meeting (CM) of all the 14 Apex Tribal Hohos of Nagaland along with other civil society organisations on 18 October at 2.30 pm at the Conference Hall of Japfü Hotel, Kohima. However, organisations like the United Naga Council (UNC) of Manipur, the Naga Students Federation (NSF), Naga the Mothers Association (NMA),46 the Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR) and others were not invited for reasons best known only to Ravi. In the words of Khekiye K. Sema, the CM:

…could be logged as a ‘Historic Day’ or a ‘Day of Infamy’ for the confused Nagas being tantalized in fluent English language to swim in blood all over again by India. What could happen next... if India chooses to take its future action based on the so-called ‘mandate’ of this un-mandated meeting...is going to determine the fate of the common man of Nagaland…47

Naga people living in Delhi, led by NSF in collaboration with the Naga Students’ Union Delhi (NSUD), took to the streets marching from Mandi House to Parliament Street, New Delhi on 24 September 2019 seeking an early solution to the Naga political issue. NSF president Ninoto Awomi stressed the importance of “Implement[ing] the Principles of the Framework Agreement” recognising “India and Nagalim as two separate political entities”.48

With the continued tussle for “a separate flag and constitution” between the GoI and NSCN-IM, the talks came to an end on 31 October 2019, declaring that they had arrived at a consensus over the demand for a separate Naga national flag and constitution. However, the NSCN (I-M) leader added, “We still have to give competencies the final touch for final solution”.49 When the final Naga solution will take place is still under wraps but it is a sad reality that, even after 22 years of peace talks between the GoI and the Nagas, a solution acceptable to both parties could not be discussed and agreed between the two entities.

The Citizenship Amendment Act

Even before the dust of the Indo-Naga talks had settled, the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB) 2019 vis-à-vis the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) 2019 was passed by the Indian parliament, leading to uproar, chaos and protest all across India. According to the CAA, Hindu, Christian, Buddhist, Jain, Sikh and Parsi migrants who have entered India illegally that is, without a visa on or before 31 December 2014 from the Muslim-majority countries of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh and have stayed in the country for five years, are eligible to apply for Indian citizenship.50

Even before the bill was passed, petitions and protests had been made in various forms by different bodies in and around the country. Nagas blatantly rejected the proposed bill and showed their resentment by organising an 18-hour bandh (strike) under the banner of the Joint Committee for Prevention of Illegal Immigrants (JCPI) on 20 November 2019.51 This was followed by a 6-hour bandh on 14 December after the bill was passed, organised by NSF.52 The numbers are only expected to rise in the coming days. Yet the reasons for the protest vary by geography. The various Naga and civil society organisations continue to oppose the CAA, seeing it as a threat to the identity, culture, land and resources of the Indigenous people of Nagalim.

In the backdrop to all this resentment and protest, the lone Lok Sabha Member of Parliament (MP) from Nagaland, Tokheho Yepthomi, voted in support of the bill citing that it was amended to give protection to the states under the Sixth Schedule and Bengal Eastern Frontier Act 1873.53 Further, Rajya Sabha MP, KG Kenye of Nagaland and LokSabha MP Lorho S Pfoze from outer Manipur, both belonging to the regional Naga People’s Front (NPF) party voted in favour of the bill.54

On being called for a show-cause notice by the NPF Disciplinary Action Committee (DAC) for voting in favour of the bill, Kenye tendered his resignation from the party’s post as NPF secretary general and clarified that he voted in favour of CAB because it granted exemption to Nagaland under the provisions of the Inner Line Permit (ILP) under Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation (BEFR) 1873.55

The draft Indian Forest (Amendment) Bill of 2019

The draft Indian Forest (Amendment) Bill of 2019, circulated in the month of March, aims to re-establish state power over forests at the cost of rights granted to the forest-dwelling tribals and other forest dwellers under the Forest Rights Act of 2006 (FRA).56 “The amendment was drafted by a core committee consisting of mainly forest bureaucrats without taking the rights-holders and stakeholders, particularly the indigenous peoples and Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MoTA), into confidence.”57 “The proposed amendment is more colonial and frightening than before. It is discriminatory and draconian,” stated a joint statement from the Boro Peoples’ Human Rights Organisation (BPHRO), Indigenous Women Forum of North-East India (IWFNEI), Karbi Human Rights Watch (KHRW), Naga Peoples’ Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR) and Zo Indigenous Forum (ZIF). The statement noted that, if the amendment passes, approximately 8 million hectares of forest land traditionally controlled by the community would be taken over by the state’s forest bureaucracy58 thereby threatening the very existence of the Indigenous people of the country who are directly or indirectly dependent on the forest for their livelihood and survival.

This amendment is a “conspiracy to deny the powers of the state over ownership and transfer of lands and its resources specifically protected under Article 371 A for Nagaland and Article 371 G for Mizoram, and the power and control over forests other than reserved forests in VI Schedule areas of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram, and of the autonomous councils constituted by state laws in Assam and Manipur”.59

Disturbed area status

The year 2019 ended with the Government of India announcing its 2020 “New Year gift” to the Nagas by once again declaring the entire Naga-inhabited area a disturbed area for another six months with effect from 30 December, in exercise of the powers conferred by section 3 of the Armed Forces (special powers) Act, 1958 (No. 28 of 1958),60 which gives the Armed Forces the right to fire upon or use other kinds of force, even if it causes death, against persons who are acting against law and order in the disturbed area for the maintenance of public order, to arrest anyone without a warrant and to enter and search any premises. Army officers furthermore enjoy legal immunity for their actions.


Notes and references

  1. Since the Scheduled Tribes or “tribals” are considered India’s Indigenous Peoples, these terms are used interchangeably in this
  2. Government of India Ministry of Home Affairs, 11011 /53/2012-NE-V. Accessed 19 February 2020: https://mha.gov.in/sites/default/files/filefield_paths/HLC_PDF
  3. “Supreme Court stays its Feb 13 order directing eviction of 11.8 lakh forest dwellers” India Today, 28 February 2019: https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/ supreme-court-stays-its-feb-13-order-directing-eviction-of-11-8-lakh-forest- dwellers-1467541-2019-02-28
  4. Government of India Ministry of Tribal 23011/3/2016-FRA, 20 December 2019: https://tribal.nic.in/FRA/data/MPRJuly2019.pdf
  5. Government of India Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. Lok Sabha Unstarred Question 4540. Accessed 19 February 2020: http:// loksabhaph.nic.in/Questions/QResult15.aspx?qref=4796&lsno=17
  6. Aggarwal, Mayank “The national policy that governs India’s forests has not been updated since 1988”. in, 11 January 2020: https://scroll.in/article/949435/ the-national-policy-that-governs-indias-forests-has-not-been-updated-since-1988
  7. “Delhi-based Rights group says over 1 lakh STs excluded from Assam NRC”. The Hindu, 2 September 2019: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other- states/delhi-based-rights-group-says-over-1-lakh-sts-excluded-from-assam- nrc/article29320506.ece
  8. Saikia, Arunabh “Why Assam government’s claim that new policy protects ‘indigenous’ land rights is misleading”. 20 December 2020: https://scroll.in/ article/947325/why-assam-governments-claim-that-new-policy-protects- indigenous-land-rights-is-misleading
  9. Government of Assam, Implementation of Assam Accord. Accessed 19 February 2020: https://assamaccord.assam.gov.in/portlets/assam-accord- and-its-clauses
  10. Government of India Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. Press Information Bureau. Government clears misgivings of amendment in the Indian Forest Act, 15 November 2019: https://pib.gov.in/newsite/PrintRelease. aspx?relid=194511
  11. Khan, Shajid “Gauhati High Court orders eviction of ‘ineligible’ from tribal land”. The Telegraph, 31 January 2019: https://www.telegraphindia.com/states/north- east/gauhati-high-court-orders-eviction-of-ineligible-from-tribal-land-in- assam/cid/1731535
  12. “In maiden cabinet decision, Hemant Soren govt withdraws Pathalgadi sedition cases”. India Today, 29 December 2019: https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/ in-maiden-cabinet-decision-hemant-soren-govt-withdraws-pathalgadi- sedition-cases-1632426-2019-12-29
  13. “Madhya Pradesh: 26-yr old rape and murder accused found hanging in lock up”. The Times of India, 13 January 2019: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/ city/bhopal/madhya-pradesh-26-yr-old-rape-and-murder-accused-found- hanging-in-lock-up/articleshowprint/67510667.cms
  14. 14. “पुलिस की पपटाई से बैगा आदिवासी की थाने में मौत, चौकी प्रभारी पनिंपबत”. News 18, 8 April 2019: https:// news18.com/news/madhya-pradesh/umaria-death-of-baga-tribal-in- police-station-beating-chowki-incharge-suspended-hydap-1846066.html
  15. “महराजपुर थाना प्रभारी पर कार्रवाई के लिए एसपी ने चुनाव आयाेग काे पत्र लिखा” Dainik Bhaskar, 17 April 2019: https://www.bhaskar.com/mp/sagar/news/mp-news-in-order-to-take-action- on-the-charge-of-maharajpur-police-station-the-sp-wrote-a-letter-to-the- election-commission-085601-4362320.html
  16. “Five policemen suspended in connection with custodial death”. The Pioneer, 23 July 2019: https://www.dailypioneer.com/2019/state-editions/five-policemen- suspended-in-connection-with-custodial-death.html
  17. “HRF alleges torture of ST youth by police”. The Hindu, 14 June 2019: https:// thehindu.com/news/cities/Vijayawada/hrf-alleges-torture-of-st-youth-by- police/article27902718.ece
  18. Khan, Shajid “Assam: Victim’s father seeks DGP’s intervention in custodial torture by Tangla police”. The North East Now, 7 August 2019: https://nenow.in/ north-east-news/assam-victims-father-seeks-dgps-intervention-in-custodial- torture-by-tangla-police.html
  19. “Cops in Tamil Nadu’s Villupuram flayed for abusing family members of detained tribal men”. The New Indian Express, 29 August 2019, https://www.com/states/tamil-nadu/2019/aug/29/cops-in-tamil- nadus-villupuram-flayed-for-abusing-family-members-of-detained-tribal- men-2025907.html
  20. Ghatwai, Milind “A night at a police station”. The Indian Express, 18 August 2019: https://indianexpress.com/article/india/a-night-at-a-police-station-madhya- pradesh-tribals-police-5913499/
  21. “Maoists kill three tribals in Gadchiroli suspecting them of being police informers”. Hindustan Times, 22 January 2019: https://www.hindustantimes. com/india-news/maoists-kill-three-tribals-in-gadchiroli-suspecting-them-of- being-police-informers/story-jnBmgMVRQUssUlw7cuSnbK.html
  22. “Tribal man killed by Maoists in Odisha”. Business Standard, 12 February 2019: https://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/tribal-man-killed-by- maoists-in-odisha-119021201144_1.html
  23. “Madhya Pradesh: Youth shot dead by Maoists on suspicion of being ‘informer’”. The Times of India, 21 June 2019: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ bhopal/madhya-pradesh-youth-shot-dead-by-maoists-on-suspicion-of-being-informer/articleshowprint/69892773.cms
  24. Mohanty, Debabrata “Suspecting them of being informers, Maoists abduct 3 tribals in Odisha; kill 1”. Hindustan Times, 30 June 2019, https://www.com/india-news/suspecting-them-of-being-informers-maoists-abduct-3-tribals-in-odisha-kill-1/story-NaGmDIpPsEnZsAgfpxE3uO. html
  25. “Maoists kill abducted TRS man, dub him cop informer”. The Times of India, 13 July 2019: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/maoists-kill- abducted-trs-man-dub-him-cop-informer/articleshowprint/70198777.cms
  26. Bhattacharjee, Sumit “Maoists kill two tribals in Chintapalli”. The Hindu, 18 July 2019: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/maoists-kill- two-tribals-in-chintapalli/article28535542.ece
  27. “Tribal Man killed by Maoist in Vizag agency in AP”. United News of India, 23 October 2019: http://www.uniindia.com/tribal-man-killed-by-maoists-in-vizag- agency-in-ap/south/news/1768257.html
  28. Kumar, Avinash “Maoists kill two tribal in Bihar branding them police informers”. Hindustan Times, 30 December 2019: https://www.hindustantimes.com/india- news/maoists-kill-two-tribal-in-bihar-branding-them-police-informers/story-html
  29. “Activist urges government to act against Orissa HC order ‘diluting’ tribal rights”. The Times of India, 9 July 2019: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/ city/cuttack/activist-urges-govt-to-act-against-hc-order-diluting-tribal-rights/ articleshowprint/70133833.cms
  30. “SIT: Tribals owned Umbha land, transfer to society was illegal”. The Times of India, 23 November 2019: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ lucknow/sit-tribals-owned-umbha-land-transfer-to-society-was-illegal/ articleshowprint/72192169.cms
  31. “Govt rectifying Congress’ sins in Umbha, will Priyanka apologise for killings here: Adityanath”. Business Standard, 13 September 2019: https://www. business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/govt-rectifying-congress-sins-in- umbha-will-priyanka-apologise-for-killings-here-adityanath-119091301068_1. html
  32. Mitra, Ritwika “Land woes continue to ail scheduled tribe communities in Chhattisgarh”. The New Indian Express, 6 November 2019: https://www. com/nation/2019/nov/06/land-woes-continue-to-ail- scheduled-tribe-communities-in-chhattisgarh-2057741.html
  33. Roy, Vasudha “Tension emerges between Chakma villagers and non-state actors in Lunglei District, Mizoram” The Northeast Today, 27 December 2019: https://archive.northeasttoday.in/tension-emerges-between-chakma- villagers-and-non-state-actors-in-lunglei-district-mizoram/
  34. Barman, Priyanka Deb “Bru refugees claim six have died of starvation in Tripura”. Hindustan Times, 7 November 2019: https://www.hindustantimes.com/ india-news/bru-refugees-claim-six-have-died-of-starvation-in-tripura/story-html
  35. See Press Briefing on the Bru agreement on 16.01.2020. Accessed 19 February 2020: https://mha.gov.in/sites/default/files/PR_BruAccord_17012020.pdf
  36. “Long walk to home: Rehabilitation of displaced tribals”. Deccan Herald, 15 December 2019: https://www.deccanherald.com/national/north-and-central/ long-walk-to-home-rehabilitation-of-displaced-tribals-785712.html
  37. Cit. (4)
  38. Kukreti, Ishan “Chhattisgarh High Court prevents PSU from evicting forest rights title holders”. Down to Earth, 5 December 2019: https://www. downtoearth.org.in/news/forests/chhattisgarh-high-court-prevents-psu-from- evicting-forest-rights-title-holders-68290
  39. National Crime Records Bureau, Crime in India 2018, Table 2. Accessed 19 February 2020: http://ncrb.gov.in/StatPublications/CII/CII2018/pdfs/Table%20 7C.2.pdf
  40. “Finally, trial begins in Vakapalli rape case”. The Times of India, 6 February 2019, https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/visakhapatnam/finally-trial-begins- in-vakapalli-rape-case/articleshowprint/67857873.cms
  41. National Crime Records Bureau, NHRC Case No. 450/3/14/2012
  42. “October 18, Japfü Kohima”. The Morung Express, 18 October 2019: https://com/october-18-japfu-kohima
  43. Singh, Bikash “National Socialist Council of Nagaland-IM, Centre to hold peace talks today”. The Economic Times, 24 October 2019: https://economictimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/national-socialist-council-of- nagaland-im-centre-to-hold-peace-talks-today/articleshow/71731358. cms?from=mdr
  44. “No separate flag, Constitution for Nagas; talks can’t be held under shadow of guns: Centre”. India Today, 20 October 2019: https://www.indiatoday.in/india/ story/no-separate-flag-constitution-for-nagas-talks-can-t-be-held-under- shadow-of-guns-centre-1611150-2019-10-20
  45. Bhattacharyya, Rajeev “Govt’s Security Overdrive in Nagaland Takes Locals by Surprise, Fuels Rumours”. News 18 24 October 2019: https://www.news18.com/ news/india/govts-security-overdrive-in-nagaland-takes-locals-by-surprise- fuels-rumours-2361515.html
  46. Op. Cit. (42)
  47. Op. Cit. (42)
  48. “Nagas take out rally in Delhi for early solution to Naga issue”. Nagaland Post, 25 September 2019: http://www.nagalandpost.com/nagas-take-out-rally-in- delhi-for-early-solution-to-naga-issue/204221.html
  49. “Modi’s promise for Naga solution takes final step”. Nagaland Post, 31 October 2019: https://www.nagalandpost.com/modi-s-promise-for-naga-solution- takes-final-step/206164.html
  50. Deka, Kaushik “Everything you wanted to know about the CAA and NRC”. India Today, 23 December 2019: https://www.indiatoday.in/india-today-insight/story/ everything-you-wanted-to-know-about-the-caa-and-nrc-1630771-2019-12-23
  51. “Anti-CAA protests continue as death toll rises to 24”. Nagaland Post, 22 December 2019: https://www.nagalandpost.com/anti-caa-protests-continue- as-death-toll-rises-to-24/208790.html
  52. “NSF calls for 6 hour total bandh from 6:00 am to 12 noon today”. Morung Express, 14 December 2019: http://morungexpress.com/nsf-calls-6-hour-total- bandh-600-am-12-noon-today
  53. “Nagaland MP Yepthomi clarifies on voting for CAB in Lok Sabha”. Nagaland Post, 15 December 2019: https://nenow.in/north-east-news/nagaland/ nagaland-mp-yepthomi-clarifies-on-voting-for-cab-in-lok-sabha.html
  54. “NPCC flays NPF, NDPP for voting in favour of CAB”. Nagaland Post, 12 December 2019: https://www.nagalandpost.com/npcc-flays-npf-ndpp-for- voting-in-favour-of-cab/208226.html
  55. “Kenye resigns as NPF secretary general”. Nagaland Post, 20 December 2019: https://www.nagalandpost.com/kenye-resigns-as-npf-secretary- general/208698.html
  56. Mohanty, Prasanna “Draft Indian Forest (Amendment) Bill 2019: Arming state to undermine rights and wellbeing of tribals”. India Today, 7 August 2019: https://www.indiatoday.in/news-analysis/story/draft-indian-forest- amendment-bill-2019-arming-state-to-undermine-rights-and-wellbeing-of- tribals-1578054-2019-08-07
  57. “GoI’s proposed amendment to Forest Act will take away indigenous rights on land”. The Morung Express, 5 September 2019: https://morungexpress.com/ gois-proposed-amendment-forest-act-will-take-away-indigenous-rights-land
  58. Ibid
  59. Ibid
  60. “MHA extends AFSPA in Nagaland for six more months”. Zee News, 30 December 2019: https://zeenews.india.com/india/mha-extends-afspa-armed- forces-special-powers-act-in-nagaland-for-six-more-months-2255043.html


Tejang Chakma is Head of Research at the Asian Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Network (AITPN).

Dr. Martemjen belongs to the Indigenous Ao Naga community of Nagaland, Member of the Naga People’s Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR) and author of the book “Biodiversity conservation, Indigenous knowledge and practices: a Naga perspective”.


This article is part of the 34th edition of the The Indigenous World, a yearly overview produced by IWGIA that serves to document and report on the developments Indigenous Peoples have experienced.  Find The Indigenous World 2020 in full here



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