What are the two major legal initiatives by the state since independence addressing discrimination against Scheduled tribes (STs).
MN Srinivas’ study on Coorgs of Mysore made it pertinent that the hierarchically superior group would oppose the introduction of an alien group within its strata and that the alien group would have to adopt the practices of the superior group just like the backward classes were doing here with sanskritisation.
Schedules Tribes who were trying to assimilate within the social strata were to meet with the same structure where they were put at the bottom of strata in the Hindu society as untouchables or inferiors.
To ensure their well being, the State introduced various welfare initiatives for ensuring their proper assimilation and development.
1. Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955:
STs were seen as untouchables which blocked their participation in the society and they were being deprived of basic work and subsistence activities.
Pertinent to Article 17 of the Constitution, the parliament declared untouchability as a criminal offence and prescribed punishment for the same.
2. Forest Rights Act, 2006
This legislation identifies the tribals right to hold and live in the forest land for the individual or community occupation where they would enjoy the right to ownership over minor forest produce. Thus, it followed the Verrier Elwin’s theory of isolationism of tribes coupled with development.
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