|Independent People's Tribunal|
Navdanya’s Bhu Swaraj Campaign has joined hands with activists, scholars, and civil society groups to host a three-day Independent People’s Tribunal (IPT) on land acquisition, resource grab, and Operation Green Hunt.
Central India is home to most of the country’s Adivasis, India’s first people. It is also home to the country’s richest concentration of natural resources. As part of Operation Green Hunt, the Indian government has mobilized police and paramilitary forces to displace Adivasis so that this precious land is free to exploit. In the name of ‘development’ the government is putting the interests of private companies like Arcelor Mittal, Jindal, Essar, Posco, Tata, and Vedanta ahead of human rights, environmental protection, and constitutional law. As a result, millions of Adivasis have lost their homes, their forests and their communities. Many have lost their lives.
Unfortunately, most Indians remain uninformed about what is taking place. We stand by as our government defies our Constitution, makes war on our fellow citizens, and passes our natural resources into the hands of a few corporations.
The Independent People’s Tribunal will directly address this information gap. Representatives from Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa, and West Bengal will present testimonies on government-sanctioned human rights abuses, forcible acquisition of Adivasi land and looting of public natural resources. Arundhati Roy, Dr. B. D. Sharma, Mahashweta Devi, Dr. Vandana Shiva , Prashat Paikary, Prafula Samnat Rai, Himanshu Kumar, Dr. Ram Dayal Munda, Sudha Bhardwaj, J.P. Rao, Gautam Navlakha and many others will speak alongside Adivasi leaders. The tribunal jury will include Justice Sawant, Justice Suresh, Admiral Taheliyani, Professor Yash Pal, Dr. P.M. Bhargava, and other eminent judges.
In the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Every individual must stand up to defend our common natural heritage and the constitutional rights of indigenous people.