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

#MeToo moment in Hyderabad Urdu varsity? Two girl students seek action against authorities

Counterview Desk
Has the #MeToo movement reached Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MAANU)? It would seem so if a recent letter by newly-appointed chancellor Firoz Bakht Ahmed to MAANU vice-chancellor Dr Aslam Parvaiz is any indication. Seeking reinstatement of two girl victims of “sexual harassment and humiliation”, the letter specifically names head of the department of the Media Centre for Journalism, suspecting, the problem could be much deeper.
Text of the letter: It is a matter of utmost perturbation for me to receive the two representations from the girls studying in the MCJ (Media Center for Journalism) regarding their sexual and subsequently, mental and social harassment at the hands of Prof Ehtesham Ahmad Khan, the HOD, MCJ.
We do not know, how many girls have been exploited by him and preferred to be silent for saving their family’s honour; however, there are two brave girls who stood to the depraved advances and misuse by Prof Ehtesham and came up with written complai…

"Ineligible" funding of Sardar Statue in Gujarat: CAG tells Central PSUs, it's not a heritage CSR activity

By Our Representative
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, in its recent report on Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSE), has qualified public sector undertakings’ (PSUs') funding the 182-metre world’s highest Sardar Statue, currently being constructed in the Narmada river downstream of the Sardar Sarovar dam as an “ineligible” corporate social responsibility (CSR) activity.

Gujarat BJP MLAs, youth leader "incited" attack on North Indians: Cong releases video

Counterview Desk
Senior Gujarat Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil, currently in charge of Bihar and national spokesperson, All-India Congress Committee, has sent a legal notice to chief minister Vijay Rupani threatening criminal case and civil defamation suit for accusing him with "baseless statement" that he was responsible for attacks on north Indians in Gujarat.

29th "NRC-related" suicide in Assam, as Nirod Baran Das takes his life by hanging on a fan

By Our Representative
Reporting 29th case of National Register of Citizens (NRC)-driven suicide in Assam, one of India’s human rights campaign sites has said that, on October 20, tragedy struck Kharupetia town in Darrang district of Assam, when a retired school teacher and advocate Nirod Baran Das “took his life by hanging himself to a fan in his home.” The report adds, “The NRC process has so far claimed over two dozen such lives in the past four months alone.”

"Highly irregular" for PSUs to fund Sardar Statue under Corporate Social Responsibility

Counterview Desk
In a letter to I Srinivas, secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India, former secretary (economic affairs), Ministry of Finance, EAS Sarma, has raised questions on the funding of the Sardar Patel statue in South Gujarat by Central Public Sector Undertaking (CPSUs) relying on the Comptroller and Auditor General report (No 18/2018).

Murder of Tamil Nadu teenage Dalit girl: "Stoic silence" despite #MeToo movement

Counterview Desk
Brinelle D'souza, who is with the Centre for Health and Mental Health, School of Social Work, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, has prepared a strong statement to protest the brutal murder of 13-year-old Rajalakshmi. "Other than a few media reports, this gruesome killing has not caught national attention despite a very vibrant #MeToo campaign currently underway", regrets D'souza.

Post-MJ Akbar resignation: #MeToo movement and fears of backlash

By Sheshu Babu*
For the last few days, #MeToo movement has picked up momentum and many women are coming out with horrific tales of severe harassment in their past lives. They are not afraid anymore to expose famous persons including those at ministerial levels. As a senior journalist Neeraja Chowdhury opined (“An exit, a beginning”, October 18, 2018, indianexpress.com), "The #MeToo revelations are like the eruption of a volcano which was imminent, given the journey working women have covered. It was not easy to make public what they had gone through,and take on powerful men.”

Bank account frozen, raid on Amnesty office: Govt of India "treating" human rights NGOs like criminal enterprises

By Abhirr VP*
Amnesty India’s bank accounts have been frozen by the Enforcement Directorate, effectively stopping its work. Amnesty India is thus the latest target of the government’s assault on civil society in the country. The accounts of Greenpeace India were frozen earlier this month.

J&K Governor's rule: BJP's "failure" to go ahead with 44-plus strategy

By Syed Mujtaba Hussian*
Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) continues to witness cataclysm of events ever since the killing of editor-in-chief of “Rising Kashmir”, Shujaat Bukhari, followed by the BJP’s deliberated parting of ways with its coalition partner, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and imposition of Governor rule.

NTPC's "poor" track record on workers' safety, whether permanent or on contract

Counterview Desk
A recent report, “The Dark Side of NTPC: A Critical Look at the Social and Environmental Footprints of NTPC”, traces the performance of one of the four Navaratnas which also happens to be a Fortune 500 company, the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), pointing out that, while it has played, for over four decades, “pivotal role” in India’s quest for development, this development was energy intensive and has caused “a plethora of negative impacts to people, environment and sustainability over the years.”