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Calling tribals 'vanvasi' is an insult to them, says Rahul Gandhi in poll-bound Chhattisgarh

In November last year, when Rahul Gandhi-led Bharat Jodo Yatra had entered in Madhya Pradesh, he had criticised the BJP and RSS for using the term 'Vanvasi' for tribals and had demanded an apology from them.

Calling tribals vanvasi is an insult to them, says Rahul Gandhi in poll-bound Chhattisgarh
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Rahul Gandhi

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RAIPUIR: Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday hit out at the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the BJP saying that calling tribals 'vanvasi' is an insult to them.

“True meaning of tribal is the original inhabitants of this country, those who originally owned the land, water, and forests of the country and have the first rights over them. However, the Bharatiya Janata Party has coined a new term for tribals - 'vanvasi,' which implies that tribals should be restricted to the jungles only,” Rahul Gandhi said while addressing a gathering of party workers in poll-bound Chhattisgarh's capital Raipur.

However, it's not the first time Rahul Gandhi pitched for the 'Vanvasi and Adivasi' issue. He has been raising the issue after RSS used the term 'Vanvasi' instead of 'Adivasi' for tribal communities in 2022.

In November last year, when Rahul Gandhi-led Bharat Jodo Yatra had entered in Madhya Pradesh, he had criticised the BJP and RSS for using the term 'Vanvasi' for tribals and had demanded an apology from them. He had also raised the issue in Karnataka and Gujarat during the assembly elections last year.

Speaking at a government programme in Chhattisgarh on Saturday, where the assembly polls are scheduled to be held later this year along with Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Telangana, Rahul Gandhi claimed it was the Congress government which introduced PESA.

“BJP wants tribals to remain in the jungles, but we say that you should have the rights to 'jal-jungle-zameen' (water-forest-land) and also the right to fulfill your dreams. This is the fundamental difference between the BJP and the Congress," Rahul Gandhi said.

He also attacked the Central government for its capitalistic ideology saying, “Before every election, BJP leaders come out with the number of seats they will win, but the people of Karnataka have shown that they have the right list only and they voted for the Congress."

He claimed Karnataka results will be repeated in Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh where the assembly elections are slated by November this year.

Pointing out a recently published news-article about Adani, he said that due to Adani’s closeness with the Prime Minister, he (Adani) has sent thousands of crores of rupees to other countries and gained higher stock market prices.

"This money isn’t solely of Adani. It belonged to someone else but PM Modi would not order an inquiry into the matter. Adani is acquiring infrastructure, airports, and perhaps even railways now. Everything is given to just one person?" Rahul Gandhi said.

He said that Chhattisgarh is the heart of India, and youths should pledge to make it the logistical center of the country by building the necessary infrastructure so that goods are processed and manufactured here and then sent to different states and other countries worldwide.

IANS
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