Fragile tribal communities need protection: Mukherjee

Port Blair, Jan.13 : President Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated the Andaman and Nicobar Tribal Research Institute (ANTRI) at Port Blair on Sunday.

Speaking on the occasion, Mukherjee made a passionate plea against forced assimilation into mainstream of marginal and highly fragile tribal communities.

He said such tribal communities should not be disturbed in the name of development, lest they get destroyed as has happened in the past as a result of attempts to assimilate them.

Any assimilation should come from within, not imposed from outside, he added.

Complimenting the ANTRI for its proposed research plans, he said research should form the basis of policy making and decisions vis a vis the tribals. Institutions like ANTRI should guide policy makers on how to avoid decisions which are contrary to the natural instincts and practices of the tribals. He said policy should not be static but adjusted as per developments.

The president expressed appreciation for ANTRI's plans to create a non conventional museum and said such a museum should not be for tourism or commercial exploitation of the artifacts and handicrafts of tribals.

Instead, it should encourage the tribals tell their own stories and through this process help them identify their needs as well as shortcomings. It should empower them address deficiencies on their own.

He said ANTRI should study how tribal practices have evolved over centuries, how such practices are suited to them and provide relevant inputs for policy making.

--ANI (Posted on 13-01-2014)

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