Former commissioner of National Commission for SCs and STs and Adivasi rights activist B. D Sharma, who passed away on Sunday, has worked all his life for the empowerment of the Adivasis and their constitutional rights. He had special attachment with Adivasis of the Adilabad.
Sharma led the Adivasis agitation demanding that governments recognize Rai centres (socio cultural centres and traditional decision making bodies Adivasis) legislative bodies in the Adilabad.
He had worked closely with the Adivasis of the Adilabad and toured the district extensively. He was also instrumental in enactment of PESA and Forest Rights Act.
Telangana Adivasi Aikya Vedika state convenor Sidam Shambu recalled his association with the B. D Sharma.
Shambu said Sharma extensively toured the Adivasi areas and studied the functioning of Rai centres and demanded legislative powers to these social institutions.
N. Madhusudan of Food Sovereignty India said ‘Sharma strongly advocated the Self Rule for the Adivasis with the slogan Mava Nate Mava Raj (Our rule in Our Village) and effective implementation of Panchayat (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act PESA,1996 and Forest Rights Act-2006’. He said with the passing of B.D Sharma, Adivasis of the country have lost a strong voice.
Another Adivasi leader Shiva Prasad of Adivasi Aikya Vedika said B. D Sharma was unhappy with the way the Forest Rights Act was being implemented in the country though it was an Act enacted to empower the Adivasis and to protect their rights.