Information Resource Centre on DNTs
Background: The De-notified Tribes (DNTs) of India
Among all the subordinated and maginalized peoples in India, the DNTs constitute one of the most vulnerable.
On the sheer basis of birth in a specific community individuals were branded ‘criminals’. Entire communities were ‘notified’ by the colonial government as criminal tribes, for “…these specific communities are addicted to the systematic commission of non-bailable offences. (Criminal Tribe Act (CTA) 1871).” The colonial regime, with the help of various amendments in CTA and introduction of new acts, only helped to regularize and maximize the oppression and grievances of thee victimized people.
After independence, the new democratic republic of India in order to ostensibly correct the mistakes of the previous occupier regime abolished the above CTA effectively resulting in their being ‘de-notified’ tribes. The fences of ghetto were sought to be broken with great zeal. However, the new government shifted its responsibility of rehabilitation of the DNTs by setting up the Antrolikar commission but its recommendation that were submitted to the government were not implemented. On the contrary, a new ‘Habitual Offenders Act’, which in spirit was similar to the colonial law, was passed. Neither the Indian Penal Code nor the training programme of Police personnel changed.
Present day newspapers occasionally report news of custodial deaths of some members of these communities, along with news of night-raids on their halting places, rapes of their women and various other atrocities but complaints against these serious offences are rarely registered. An impression is sought to be conveyed that everything is normal and under control.
Need for Documentation:
Any work with or for the DNTs and the NTs, not least the efforts to promote literacy and education among them, will be rendered ineffective or will be less effective if there is lack of sufficient information or knowledge base about them. Hence a pressing need is felt to create an Information Resource Centre to collect, collate, document and update information concerning these tribes and to channelize this towards various activities orientated towards the upliftment of these depressed communities.
Aims and Objectives:
This Information Resource Centre will –
a. Collect and Document on a day-to-day basis happenings and other information concerning the DNTs and NTs.
b. Create an information base for the precise understanding of the present situation of the DNTs and NTs.
c. Organize and Systematize all the information collection.
d. Devise a system of information exchange.
e. To provide and exchange the information among these communities as well as to needy organizations or activists.
f. To facilitate advocacy.
g. To encourage and promote research into DNT and NT issues.
Lokdhara- A yearly journal published by XISR on the lives of NT & DNT’s
This publication features the daily lives of the NT & DNT’s their hardships, details of the programmes by government made for their upliftment, organizations which work towards their benefit and various programmes conducted by them for NT & DNT’s and work done by XISR.