(EDS: Updating with details)
Raipur, June 19 RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat today attended the 'chintan shivir' (introspection camp) in Chhattisgarh's Raipur where issues pertaining to the Scheduled Tribes in the country were discussed.
The two-day camptitled 'Bharat ki janjatiyon ki asmita aur astitva' (the pride and existence of the Scheduled Tribes of India),was inaugurated in presence of Bhagwat this morning, said programme convener Harsh Chauhan.
The camp is organised by the Akhil Bharatiya Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram, a Sangh affiliate,
"Elaborate discussions were held on (issues like) Panchayats (Extension of Scheduled Areas) Act (PESA) and its implementation in scheduled areas, ensuring participation of entire scheduled tribe community in reservation, and on Forest Rights Act and development of tribal community," he said.
Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram, Union Minister of State for Tribal Affairs Sudarshan Bhagat, Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram's national president Jagdeo Ram Oram, RSS Sarkaryavah (General Secretary) Suresh Bhaiyyaji Joshi and National Commission for Scheduled Tribes chairperson Nand Kumar Sai, members of RSS and its affiliates were present, according to Chauhan.
As many as 135 thinkers and social leaders are taking part in the discussions which will conclude tomorrow, he said.
This is Bhagwat's second visit this year to the BJP-ruled Chhattisgarh, where Assembly polls are due by this year-end.
The Sangh chief had earlier visited Raipur in January and addressed a public meeting here.
The closed-door camp is being considered significant as it is being held against the backdrop of controversial "Patthalgadi" movement of Jashpur district in northern Chhattisgarh.
Under the movement, tribals in some villages of Jashpur had put up plaques, painted in green and white, outside their villages declaring the gram sabha as the only "sovereign authority" under the provisions of the Panchayats (Extension of Scheduled Areas) Act (PESA), 1996.
The slogans on the plaques read that laws enacted by Parliament are not applicable in the scheduled areas where the gram sabha is supreme.
The Sarva Adivasi Samaj, an umbrella body of tribal groups, had claimed that the movement was launched because tribals are feeling cheated over improper implementation of the laws meant to protect their interests.
According to RSS sources, Patthalgadi issue was also discussed in the camp today.