Dialogue delves into ‘indigenous’ term

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IMPHAL, Jul 27: Although the term ‘indigenous people’ is not mentioned in the Constitution, policy makers/planners have been initiating to incorporate the implication of the term as India is signatory to the United Nations  Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, said Dr RK Ranjan.
Dr RK Ranjan was speaking at the public dialogue organised by National Research Centre, Manipur with the theme ‘Protection of Indigenous People of Manipur’ at Centenary Hall, Manipur University today.
There is no concrete universal definition of  the concept of ‘indigenous people.’ However, it has been clearly laid in Article 33 of the UNDRIP that the rights, culture and identity of the indigenous people should be protected, he said.
Although terms like ‘tribal’,  ‘adivasis’ and others are mentioned in the Constitution, the term ‘indigenous’ is not mentioned.
Since India is a signatory to UNDIPR, it is making efforts to define or incorporate the implication of indigenous people in the Constitution. Besides, India is making hectic efforts to declare those communities which are in existence before 1947 as ‘indigenous.’
Abnormal population growth was witnessed from 1961 to 1981 in Manipur. However, the fertility rate, birth rate was not high during this period.
He said that the population growth during the two decades mentioned was high due to unchecked influx of migrants.
Lack of attention to the influx of migrants by the locals, selling off land and declining work culture have led to the situation the people are facing now, he said while adding that the enumerators engaged in census operations and those who sold land are all local people. As such, the onus of safeguarding the indigenous people lies on them.
The local people should retain their economic, political and social rights. The local people should also sort out the differences among themselves. The session was moderated by Prof Ksh Bimola while R Chandra Haomei and Advocate S Premjit also spoke as the resource persons.
Giving the keynote address, Dr N Jibit said that the public dialogue has been organised in order that recommendations for protection of indigenous people are made and the differences among the people are expressed so that a solution can be brought about.

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