Adivasi March in Anakapalli Demands Inclusion in Fifth Schedule

On August 4, under the banner of Adivasi Sangarsh Morcha (ASM), AIARLA and other organisations, hundreds of Adivasis embarked on a four day padayatra (foot march) in Anakapalli District of Andhra Pradesh demanding constitutional rights and legal protection and inclusion of non-scheduled area villages in Fifth Schedule of Indian Constitution.

The march, which witnessed participation of Adivasis residing in Cheedikada, V Madugula, Ravikamatam, Rolugunta, Golugonda, and Nathavaram villages of Andhra Pradesh reached the Anakapalli district collector office on August 7. PS Ajay Kumar, AIARLA leader said that the Adivasis had been raising this demand of inclusion of the non-scheduled villages in the fifth schedule, which provides protection and rights to tribal areas inhabited by economically and socially backward people.

It is pertinent to note that the call for inclusion in the fifth schedule in a decade old demand. In fact, in 1967 the then state cabinet (of undivided Andhra Pradesh) had in resolution No 58/requested the Central government to include 805 Non-Scheduled Adivasi villages in the fifth schedule, but this is being consistently ignored.

B Bangarrao, Central Committee Member of CPIML accused ruling party MLAs of obstructing efforts to provide justice and rights to the Adivasis. The non-inclusion of these Adivasi villages in the fifth schedule has led to large scale plundering of resources by the rich and powerful.

Furthermore, in 2022, the Jaganmohan Reddy government had formed the new districts, which led to a large number of non-scheduled Adivasi villages in old districts cut out from the Adivasi welfare programs of ITDA (Integrated Tribal Development Agency).

“Adivasis are asking the government to issue guidelines under which ITDA programs should continue in their old jurisdictions also. That means, wherever the Adivasis are there, irrespective of their district boundaries, they should receive the benefits of ITDA schemes,” added Ajay Kumar.

The march is calling for district authorities to organise face-to-face review meetings with Adivasis regarding the land issues and revenue officials should ensure their land rights.

Similar marches and programs are being organised by Adivasi organisations across the state. The organisations have called intensifying the protest against the government's blatant disregard to the demands of the plight of Adivasis in the state and are planning to organise a protest at the Vijayawada on August 14.

Demands Inclusion in Fifth Schedule