Skip to main content

Delhi people's organizations' meet protests proposed changes in India's forest and environmental laws

By Our Representative
A broad spectrum of civil society and people’s organizations under the Bhoomi Adhikar Andolan (BAA) has demanded from the Government of India to work for the implementation of the Forest Rights Act (FRA), 2006 in its letter and spirit, even as ensuring that collective rights of tribal communities are upheld.
Simultaneously asking the government to “stay away from making any changes to the Act”, a BAA statement issued after a mass demonstration in Delhi insisted on the need to strengthen India’s environmental laws by withdrawing Environment Law (Amendment) Bill, 2015.
A BAA communiqué issued after the meeting said, “Over 500 people associated with different social movements, democratic struggles and trade unions from different states of the country gathered at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi, on the historic day of enactment of FRA in 2006.”
Following the meeting, a delegation from BAA met Minister of Tribal Affairs Jual Oram, who “assured” the protesters that he would “raise” these issues in Parliament.
Calling the FRA 2006 “a landmark in the history of indigenous people in this country whose rights have time and again been neglected by the state”, the BAA said, “The FRA was enacted to correct this historic injustice meted to our people and restore their rights over their forests, land and water.”
“The Act ensures individual tenure rights over cultivable land and more importantly collective ownership rights over all non-timber forest products (NTFP) and forest-based resources to the Gram Sabhas and those duly elected by the community members”, BAA added.
“However”, it alleged, the government has “neglected in effectively implementing the progressive Act meant to bring about a structural change in forest governance.”
Referring to the tenth ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Nairobi, Kenya (15-18 December). BAA said, “WTO has repeatedly pushed forward the agenda of the developed nations and has sidelined the real concerns of developing nations like India.”
Addressing the meet, Medha Patkar of the Narmada Bachao Andolan said that BAA has been formed to collectively “denounce the proposal of change of law in FRA.” She blamed the government for not implementing them even after the gram sabha passed a resolution for it.” She added, “Though the negotiations would have started in Nairobi, we hope the government does not proceed to sell off our lands there.”
Roma, General Secretary, All-India Union of Forest Working People, said the reason for the meeting is “to remind the government that the people will oppose the governmental move to sell of our lands to the corporates. The government thinks that we will be content with the declaration of FRA, but we will not end our struggle until it is properly implemented.”
Dr Sunilam of the Kisaan Sangharsh Samiti blamed the lack of political will in government for the non-implementation of FRA till date. Referring to the struggle in Chindwara, Madhya Pradeshagainst the Adani Group’s control over tribal land, he said, “The government assumes that they can stop us from democratic struggles by imposing 144.”
Ashok Chowdhary of the All-India Union of Forest Working People said, “Water, food and land are some of our main issues, and everything has to be addressed together.” He added, “Siding with corporates will only ruin our country.”

Comments

TRENDING

Call to support IIM-Bangalore professor, censured for seeking action against Uniliver

Counterview Desk
Sections of the Indian Institute of Managements (IIMs) across India have strongly reacted to the decision to censure Dr Deepak Malghan, a faulty at IIM-Bangalore. Prabhir Vishnu Poruthiyil, who is faculty at IIM-Tiruchirapalli, has sought wider solidarity with Dr Malghan, saying, "The administration has censured Deepak for merely suggesting a meaningful action against Hindustan Unilever for their abysmal environmental record" by “disinviting” it for campus placement.

Actionable programme for 2019 polls amidst lynch mobs, caste violence, hate mongering

Counterview Desk
Reclaiming the Republic, a civil rights network, has released a document prepared under the chairmanship of Justice AP Shah (retired) -- and backed, among others, by Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan, bureaucrat-turned-human rights activist Harsh Mander, economist Prabhat Patnaik, Right to transparency activist Anjali Bhardwaj and social scientist Yogendra Yadav  (click HERE for full list) -- with the "aim" of putting forth policy and legislative reforms needed to “protect” and “strengthen” the Constitutional safeguards for India’s democratic polity.

Noam Chomsky, top scholars ask NRIs to take stand on human rights violations in India

Counterview Desk
Renowned world scholars, including Noam Chomsky, James Petras, Angela Davis, Fredric Jameson, Bruno Latour, Ilan Pappe, Judith Butler, among others, have issued a statement castigating the Narendra Modi government for allegedly creating an environment of fear through arrests, intimidation and violence.

India under Modi "promoted" crony business, protected financial fraudsters, fueled bigotry

By Sandeep* and Rahul Pandey**
Narendra Modi's ascension to power was accompanied with jubilation and expectation. His supporters were expecting an end to era of corruption and initiation of good governance which was described as Achche Din. His party's adherence to idea of nationalism was believed to make India a vibrant country and guide India to be a world leader. He gave the slogan of 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas' conveying that his government was for all.
Corruption The government system is infested with corruption. A minimum of 10% is siphoned off from government schemes and projects, some of which goes back to political party in power and remaining is pocketed by various administrative, executive and political functionaries. This corruption continues and has increased. Now an additional Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) person working as Official on Special Duty or some equivalent position in every government department also has a share in this booty.
The Narendra M…

Inviting Rajapaksa to India "insult" to 1,40,000 Tamils killed by Sri Lankan army

Counterview Desk
In the context of Sri Lankan opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksa being invited in India, about 75 human rights activists*, claiming to be concerned about rights violations during the civil war in Sri Lanka, especially in 2009, have joined together to express their dissent through a statement.

A Godse legacy? BJP rulers have "refrained" from calling Gandhi Father of the Nation

By Dr Hari Desai*
What an agony! On one hand, the entire India is celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but on the other side, so-called Hindu Mahasabha members have been found mock-enacting the killing of the Mahatma and celebrating the murder by distributing sweets!

No aadhaar, no ration? Hard blow by Gujarat govt on poor and marginalized

By Pankti Jog*
Only those who have aadhaar registration and linked it with ration card will get ration from a Public Distribution System (PDS) shop. This decision of the Gujarat government has hit very badly thousands of poor and marginalized communities of Gujarat, especially during the drought year.

Post-advisory, Govt of India appears reluctant to ban e-cigarettes, "harmful" to kids

By Rajiv Shah
Is the Government of India dilly-dallying over the issue of banning e-cigarettes, which have been declared by anti-tobacco activists across the world as providing “an entryway to nicotine addiction”, especially among the kids? It would seem so, if the latest developments are any guide.

Not just Indian women engineers, men too face sexual harassment at workplace: US study

By Rajiv Shah
A recent research, carried out jointly by two US-based non-profit organizations, Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and Center for WorkLife Law (WLL), based at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, has found that 45% of women engineers as against 28% of men engineers complained that it was perceived as “inappropriate when women argued at work, even when it was work-related.”

Poser to Modi: Why is Gujarat not fulfilling Constitutional obligations to minorities?

Counterview Desk
In an open letter, Mujahid Nafees, convener, Minority Coordination Committee (MCC), a Gujarat-based civil rights organization, has accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi on infringing upon MCC activists’ constitutional right to protest. Nafees says, they had no other demands except that the Gujarat government should move towards fulfilling the constitutional obligations towards minorities and international treaties to which India is a signatory.