Skip to main content

6,000 plus Himachal tribals evicted from forest land, Himalaya Niti Abhiyan seeks ST Commission intervention

A recent demonstration for forest rights in Himachal Pradesh
By Our Representative
The Himalaya Niti Abhiyan (HNA) has sought the intervention of the National Commission for Schedule Tribes (NCST), New Delhi, for stopping illegal eviction of STs and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers from the forest areas of Himachal Pradesh, saying that the state forest and revenue departments have launched a big drive “to evict forest dwellers in the state starting on November 1, 2016.”
Signed by Guman Singh, coordinator, and RS Negi, co-chairperson of HNA, their letter to the NCST dated November 2, 2016, says that already “internal directions have been given to local officials” in the matter.
Giving details how the state forest department, under Congress rule, has been undermining the Forest Rights Act, 2006, the letter says, in all, 10,307 cases have been identified for eviction. Of these, for a whopping 8,912 cases, the eviction order has been passed, while for 5,143 cases the evictions have already taken place.
Over and over this, says the letter, the revenue department has identified 4,299 cases for eviction, out of which 1,277 cases “stand decided and remaining 3,022 cases are pending before various revenue authorities.”
Of the 1,277 decided cases, the letter says, “encroachments in respect of 908 cases stand removed and process for eviction with respect to remaining 369 cases is in progress”, the letter says, adding, the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Himachal Pradesh is personally monitoring and ensure that “all cases of at least districts Shimla and Kullu be firmly dealt with and encroachments over government/forest land removed.”
Worse, the letter complains, “The forest department has cut down more than 40 thousand fruit bearing apple and other trees and destroyed orchards and farm land of several small farmers having even less than 10 bigha occupation.”
It adds, “Many residential houses were demolished in many parts of state, water and electricity connections were also disconnected in all parts of states even in tribal areas.”
The letter says, the HNA is of the view this is happening in direct violation of the Forest Rights Act (FRA), 2006, as also the Supreme Court judgment dated April 18, 2013 in the case of Orisha Mining Corporation Ltd vs Ministry of Environment & Forest & Others (Niyamgiri judgment).” 
The letter quotes the judgment as confirming the provision of FRA’s Section 4(5) as saying, “Save as otherwise provided, no member of a forest dwelling STs or other traditional forest dweller shall be evicted or removed from forest land under his occupation till the recognition and verification procedure is completed.”
The letter accuses the Himachal Pradesh government, starting with 2008, it has been trying to “evade implementation of the FRA, 2006 and issued many such orders claiming that rights have been settled by the British through the imperial settlement process and hence recognition under FRA, 2006 is not necessary.”
The letter further says, under the constant pressure of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, the state government made “feeble attempts” in tribal areas “with several illegal riders such as claimant should not be a government employee, income tax payee” so as not to be considered as “encroachers.”
“Forest dwellers were not provided information, nor was there wide publicity. Training to Gram Sabhas or local officials was never properly imparted. In fact in several places, the forest department threatened and pressurised dwellers not to file claims”, the letter concludes.

Comments

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.”

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

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.

60 ex-civil servants seek release of CAG reports on Rafale, demonetisation before 2019 polls

Counterview Desk
As many as 60 retired civil servants have asked President Ram Nath Kovind to expedite the release of Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) reports on demonetisation and the Rafale deal. The letter, signed mainly by former Indian Administrative Service, Indian Foreign Service and Indian Police Service officers, regrets that the status of the audit is "unclear”. According to them, “An impression is gaining ground that CAG is deliberately delaying its audit reports on demonetisation and Rafale deal till after the May 2019 elections so as not to embarrass the present government”.