Skip to main content

Forest Rights Act "violated" in Gujarat: Adivasi landowners being asked to vacate land, hand of sand mafia seen

By Our Representative
Following notices served to take back land allocated to the Narmada dam oustees in September 2014 in Vadodara district (click HERE to read), now fresh cases have come to light in Chhotaudepur distict of South Gujarat, where the tribals who were allocated land under the Forest Rights Act, 2006, are being asked to vacate their land. Bringing this to light, senior social activist Romel Sutariya has accused the forest department of seeking to “snatch away the land allocated to them.” He added, the tribals are being vacated despite the fact that they are the real owners of the land as per the revenue record.
In a letter he has shot to the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, Sutariya, who is running a voluntary organisation for the tribal land owners in Chhotaudepur, gave at least two instances of this type. Thus, "on December 23, 2014, Ramsingbhai, a tribal landowner who owns an agricultural plot, Survey No 85, of Ambala village of Chhotaudepur district, is being asked by the forest department to vacate the land. A complaint has been filed with the police, but there is so far no action has been taken”, Sutariya said.
Giving another instance, Sutariya's letter said, “A tribal owning another plot of land, Survey No 164, has been forcibly evicted. Already, the forest department has begun with tree plantation on the plot. Worse, when the tribals protested, a few of them were detained illegally by the police. While a complaint has been lodged before the district collector, he too is refusing to act.” The letter asks commission chairman Rameshwar Oraon to ask Gujarat government authorities to act.
Heading the Adivasi Kisan Sangharsh Morcha, giving the background of what is happening in the region, Sutariya in a separate letter to PC Thakur, director-general of police, Gujarat, has said that tribals are being harassed alongside efforts by sand miners seeking to register a foothold in the region. “The tribals are cultivating land they have been allocated next to the river. However, the sand mafia has been continuing with indiscriminate, harming the agricultural land. Water levels are going down. At several places, illegal sand mining has washed away precious soil next to the river”, he said.
Alleging that several ruling politicians are behind illegal sand mining in the region, Sutariya said, “This is one major reason why the forest and police departments are not acting in the interest of the tribal farmers.” He added, “As our organisation is fighting against illegal mining, things have gone to such an extent that our organisation, and particularly me, are being targeted as Naxalite.” Suggesting that this is a ridiculous accusation coming at a time when the organisation is working within the legal framework, he added, “This was the main reason why on December 19 a police party was posted outside our Chhotaudepur office.”
He said, things reached such a point that, at one point, he was taken to the police station for questioning, and he was detained till the afternoon. "The main reason for this was, we were fighting for the tribals' right and against the sand mafia operating in the region. There have been cases when in several villages, such as Hirpari, Pavi Jetpur and others, where our workers live, the police is found to be questioning them. This is a clear violation of human rights.”

Comments

Sagar Rabari said…
By giving voice through counterview, you are doing great help to various causes Rajivbhai, please keep it up.

The voiceless needs to be heard more loudly.......

TRENDING

'Modi govt's assault on dissent': Foreign funds of top finance NGO blocked

By Rajiv Shah  In a surprise move, the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, has cancelled the foreign funding license of the well-known advocacy group, Centre for Financial Accountability (CFA), known for critically examining India's finance and banking sectors from human rights and environmental angle.

Misleading ads 'manipulate, seduce, lure' to market unhealthy harmful food

By Our Representative  The Nutrition Advocacy in Public Interest (NAPI) in its new report “50 Shades of Food Advertising” has sought to expose how seductive, luring, manipulative or deceptive these advertisements can be. Consequences of such advertising are increased intake of unhealthy food products that is associated with obesity and diabetes, it says. 

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Why's Govt of India reluctant to consider battery storage system for renewal energy?

By Shankar Sharma*  If having so many small size battery energy storage system (BESS) at different locations of the grid, as in the report from Australia (a portfolio of 27 small battery storage projects across three Australian states that will total arounds 270 MWh), is considered to be techno-economically attractive in a commercially driven market such as Australia, the question that becomes a lot more relevance to Indian scenario is: why are our planners not in favour of installing such small size BESS at most of the distribution sub-stations not only to accelerate the addition of RE power capacities, but also to minimise the need for large size solar/ wind power parks, dedicated transmission lines and pumped storage plants; which will also minimise the associated technical losses.

'Failure of governance': India, China account for 54% pollution-related deaths globally

By Vikas Parsaram Meshram*   A recent report jointly prepared by UNICEF and the independent research organization Health Effects Institute has been released, and the statistics within it are alarming. It states that in 2021, air pollution caused the deaths of 2.1 million Indians, including 169,000 children who hadn't yet fully experienced life. These figures are indeed distressing and raise questions about why there hasn't been more serious effort in this direction, putting policymakers to shame. 

New MVA-INDIA MPs asked to raise Maharashtra milk farmers' demand

By Our Representative  All-India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) national president Dr Ashok Dhawale and AIKS Maharashtra general secretary Dr Ajit Nawale have asked three newly-elected MPs of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA-INDIA) from the milk belt of Maharashtra Dr Amol Kolhe (NCP),  Bhausaheb Wakchaure (SS), and Nilesh Lanke (NCP), to take up the cause of milk farmers of Maharashtra in Parliament.  After congratulating them on their resounding victory over their BJP-NDA rivals, the AIKS leaders apprised them of the milk farmers struggle which is intensifying in the state under the leadership of the AIKS and the Milk Farmers Joint Struggle Committee, and requested them to support it. All three MPs agreed not only to support, but also to take the initiative in this struggle, an official AIKS communique claimed. Farmers in Maharashtra are currently getting as low as Rs 24-27 per litre for cow milk, which is being sold in the market for Rs 56-60 per litre, the AIKS leaders noted. The low price to farmer