Skip to main content

"Forcible" tribal eviction: Central India village draws international attention following NGO representation

Condition of a government building in Amravan
By Our Representative
A small village of about 200 in Central India, a majority of whose residents is dependent on mining as the main source of livelihood, is all set to become a major focal point, nationally and internationally. Reason: Allegations of refusal of the Madhya Pradesh government to protect them from forcible eviction from their land.
Earning about Rs 100 to 200 per day, and belonging to Amravan village of Panna district, representations have been made against their forcible eviction to powerful international NGO Asia Indigenous People's Pact, Thailand; Victoria Tauli Corpuz, special rapporteur, UN High Commission for Human Rights; Satyanaryan Mohanty, CEO, Natonal Human Rights Commission; PL Punia, chairman, National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes; and Jual Oram, minister for tribal affairs, Government of India, among others.
The representation appeals for “urgent intervention” in the present crisis in Umaravan, whose residents are being “brutally evicted without the implementation of any proper rehabilitation process or settlement of rights”.
According to the representation, “The affected families belong to the Gond tribe who are marginal farmers and live on forest produce and cultivation. The village received legal notices from the district collector in February 2015 to evict them from the village for expansion of the Panna Tiger Reserve and with an offer of cash compensation. No written or accurate information regarding settlement of rights and alternate livelihoods was provided to the affected families.”
“Majority of the families are illiterate and do not understand any governance procedures”, the representation says, adding, “They have been intimidated and harassed by the district administration and wildlife officials and live in constant fear. They were verbally promised various rehabilitation measures and coerced into giving their consent.”
Officials read out eviction notice to villagers
The representation says, “Even when the aggrieved tribal families raised several objections, cash compensation was forcefully deposited into their bank accounts but most of the tribal families who are residing in the village have not taken the amount. The village had earlier put up claims under Forest Rights Act for settlement of individual and community forest rights. Some of the families also received title deeds and others are still awaiting settlement.”
The representation further says, “The district administration has not bothered to settle their rights as mandated in the Forest Rights Act Section 2d, 2c and 4(1). Section 2d includes settlement of rights in sanctuaries and national park areas. There is a writ petition filed in the High Court of Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, by the affected families of Umravan and the local NGO, Prithvi Trust.”
Pointing out that the case is posted for hearing on September 28, 2015, the representation says, “In spite of this the local police and forest officials descended on the village on Saturday, September 19, 2015, and have created panic by threatening the villagers that they will be forcefully evicted in the next few days if they do not vacate the village immediately.”
“This is a blatant violation of the rights of scheduled tribes, and of their constitutional and human rights, as well as blatant violation of the Forest Rights Act”, the representation insists, adding, “Therefore, we appeal to you to intervene and protect the rights of the adivasis in this crisis.”
Activists protest government move
It concludes, “Besides, as the legal case is under process we request you to give directions to the state authorities to follow due legal procedures and consider the long term sustainability of tribal people who are being thrown out unceremoniously without any rehabilitation or sustainable alternatives.”
Those who have signed the representation include Bhanumathi Kalluri, Dhaatri Resource Centre for Women and Children, Vijayawada; Ashok Shrimali, general secretary, Mines, Minerals and People, and Setu Centre for Knowledge and Action, Ahmedabad; Snehalata Nath, director, Keystone Foundation, Nilgiris district, Tamilnadu; Yousufbeg, Prithvi Trust, Panna district, Madhya Pradesh; Ravi Rebbapragada, Samata, Visakhapatnam, among others.
Giving this information, Shrimali told Counterview that he personally met Mansukh Vasava, MP from Gujarat and India's minister of state for tribal affairs at Rajpipla, telling him about the havoc created by forcible eviction. "Vasava told me that he would ensure no such eviction takes place and tribal rights are not violated", Shrimali said.
A highly neglected village, the state officialdom does not even care to provide jobs to the villagers under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, say reports. Worse, the village is devoid of any developmental work for the last three years. There is no ration shop in the village – if they want to buy ration from the public distribution system, they must go six kilometres away.
The situation is such that, a large number of workers, who are involved in mining, suffer from the deadly silicosis disease, but there is no one to treat them. They begin working at the age of 14 or 15, but live for another 20 years before they become victims of the disease.

Comments

TRENDING

ISKCON UK 'clarifies' after virus infects devotees, 5 die due to big temple meet

By Rajiv Shah
The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), United Kingdom (UK), has admitted that at least 21 of its devotees were infected because of the spread of the coronavirus amongst the UK devotee community following the March 12 funeral and March 15 memorial of the Bhaktivedanta Manor temple president, in which about 1,000 people participated. Regretting that five of the devotees have passed away, the top Hindu religious in Britain body does not deny more may have been infected.

Mallika Sarabhai releases speech she was 'not allowed' to give at NID Convocation on Feb 7

Counterview Desk
The National Institute of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad, a Ministry of Commerce and Industry body, landed itself in controversy following its decision to put off its 40th convocation ceremony, where noted danseuse Mallika Sarabhai was invited as chief guest. The ceremony was scheduled to be held on February 7.

As corona virus 'travels' to rural areas, NGO begins training tribals, marginalised women

By Souparno Chatterjee*
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared corona virus a pandemic. Originating from Wuhan in China, it has traversed the entire globe, almost, and claimed more than 16,000 lives already. That’s largely the urban population. In India, despite all the preparedness and war-like promptness to safeguard against the pandemic, several lives have been lost , and hundreds of individuals have tested positive.

Rani Laxmi Bai, Tatya Tope 'martyred' by East India Company, Scindia's forefathers

By Our Representative
In an email alert to Counterview, well-known political scientist Shamsul Islam has said that was “shameful for any political party in democratic India to keep children of Sindhias in their flock” given their role during the First War of Indian Independence (1857). In a direct commentary on Madhya Pradesh Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia moving over to BJP, Prof Islam has quote from a British gazetteer to prove his point.

COVID-19: Dalit rights bodies regret, no relief plan yet for SCs, STs, marginalized

By Our Representative
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the National Dalit Watch-National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights, endorsed* by several other Dalit rights organizations, have insisted, the Government of India should particular care of the scheduled castes and tribes, trans folks, persons with disabilities and the women and children from these communities, while fighting against COVID-19 pandemic.

Coronavirus scare ‘pushing’ people from Northeast India into more hardship

By Rishiraj Sinha, Biswanath Sinha*
“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background or his religion. People learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” – Nelson Mandela
***

Gujarat govt plan to 'banish' Gandhian activist anti-democratic, unconstitutional

By Rohit Prajapati*
The current Central and Gujarat governments, and their bureaucracy, have been and are still unable to answer and address the concerns raised, with facts, figures, and constitutional provisions, regarding the terror of tourism in the name of the Statue of Unity and tourism projects surrounding it.

Gujarat construction workers walk home as Rs 2,900 crore welfare fund lies unused

By Our Representative
Situated behind the Gujarat University, some of the families of the migrant construction workers from Dahod and Panchmahals districts of Gujarat, and a few from Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, who had stayed put in make-shift shanties in Ahmedabad’s sprawling GMDC Ground, have begun a long journey, by foot, back to their home villages in the eastern tribal belt of Gujarat.

Modi, Shah 'forget': Gandhi’s first Satyagraha was against citizenship law of South Africa

By Nachiketa Desai*
Hindu fanatic Nathuram Godse assassinated Mahatma Gandhi once on January 30, 1948 but his followers raising the war cry of ‘Jai Sriram’ are killing the Mahatma every day. In his home state of Gujarat, Gandhiji was killed a thousand times in 2002 when over 2,000 Muslims were butchered, their women raped, homes and shops plundered and set on fire and even unborn babies ripped out of the wombs of their mothers.