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'Rise of Maoists due to injustice with tribals'

By The Assam Tribune

SHILLONG, Nov 12 (IANS): Maoist activities are growing in India's tribal areas because the traditional forest dwellers have been denied justice, a tribal leader said Saturday.

"Had there been justice for tribals, Maoist activities would have not have flourished. Maoists have flourished because their rights have been long suppressed," Cardinal Telesphore P. Toppo told journalists at the Northeast Catholic Mission Congress here.

"In a situation where only the fittest can survive, where will the tribals and other marginalised groups stand? Tribals and the less privileged should be given benefits so that they can be at par with others," he added.

Toppo, the first Oraon Indian tribal cardinal to be elected to the College of Cardinals that elects the Pope, said the government should focus on creating jobs for tribals.

"We (church) have long been playing our role in the social sector, in the field of education and health, but the church is a miniature group, and does not have the requisite resources to create employment avenues for the youth," said Toppo, who is a former president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India.

Asked on the church's role in fighting corruption, Toppo said: "The church can play an important role as it has invested manpower and resources in education. Through educational institutions, the church can enlighten the people about the issue."

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SHILLONG, Nov 12 (IANS): Maoist activities are growing in India's tribal areas because the traditional forest dwellers have been denied justice, a tribal leader said Saturday.

"Had there been justice for tribals, Maoist activities would have not have flourished. Maoists have flourished because their rights have been long suppressed," Cardinal Telesphore P. Toppo told journalists at the Northeast Catholic Mission Congress here.

"In a situation where only the fittest can survive, where will the tribals and other marginalised groups stand? Tribals and the less privileged should be given benefits so that they can be at par with others," he added.

Toppo, the first Oraon Indian tribal cardinal to be elected to the College of Cardinals that elects the Pope, said the government should focus on creating jobs for tribals.

"We (church) have long been playing our role in the social sector, in the field of education and health, but the church is a miniature group, and does not have the requisite resources to create employment avenues for the youth," said Toppo, who is a former president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India.

Asked on the church's role in fighting corruption, Toppo said: "The church can play an important role as it has invested manpower and resources in education. Through educational institutions, the church can enlighten the people about the issue."