Skip to main content

Five villages forcibly dislocated from Odisha's Similipal tiger reserve, more on cards: Civil society activists

Tribals evicted from the reserve area
By Our Representative
Bringing to light what they termed as “illegal relocation” of five tribal villages of Similipal Tiger Reserve by the Mayurbhanj district administration and the Forest Department, Odisha, two civil rights organizations, Similipal Surakhya Manch, Mayurbhanj and the Campaign for Survival and Dignity (CSD), have said that plans are now underway to relocate more villages from what is called the “buffer zone” of the tiger reserve.
Talking with media at Mayurbhanj, senior activists said, this was being done “flouting all statutory rights of the tribals vested under the Forest Rights Act (FRA), 2006 as also the Wildlife Protection (Amendment) Act (WLPA), 2006 and the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act (LARR), 2013.
Addressed, among others, by Prafulla Samantarai, lead campaigner, National Alliance of Peoples’ Movement (NAPM), the apex body of several grassroots organizations across India, Father Nicholas Barla of the Indiginious Peoples Forum, and Manohar Chouhan from CSD, the activists said, the provision of buffer zone aims at promoting co-existence between people and wildlife with due recognition of the livelihood, developmental, social and cultural rights of the local people under Section 38 V of of the WLPA.
Giving the example of village Kiajhari, the activists said, it has been relocated without the mandatory recognition of forest rights, with similar plans being worked out for relocating more villages from there, which is illegal and has caused great concern among the tribals and Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs), living in the Simlipal tiger reserve.
All five tribal villages which have been forcibly evicted are from the core area of the Similipal Tiger Reserve, the media was told, adding, The process was in clear violation of the FRA and the WLAP, which clearly mandate protection of rights of tribals and forest dwellers while promoting co-existence in the wildlife sanctuaries, national parks and tiger reserves.
Tribals giving testimony at the media conference
Laws, it was pointed out, mandate free prior informed consent of gram sabhas for relocation, whereas in these cases a supposed ‘consent’ was obtained under duress. Instead of compensation for the recognised rights, they received the National Tiger Conservation Authority’s (NTCA’s) fixed package of Rs 10 lakh per family totally ignoring replacement or compensation for lost community forest resource rights in violation of LARR.
The rights of these tribal communities under FRA and WLPA are yet to be recognised”, the activists said, adding, their claims for forest rights are pending with the district administration. The administration, however, decided unilaterally that forest rights titles won’t be issued to these villages which were due to be relocated. This is a blatant violation of both FRA and WLPA.
Meanwhile, it was pointed out, harassment of the tribal communities by the Mayurbhanj district administration and the Similipal Tiger Reserve authorities continues. The villagers unwilling to leave their homes and habitation and who are resisting relocation are being systematically told they would have to leave.
Samantrai accused the district administration, Mayurbhanj, and the Odisha government for undermining the power of gram sabha while forcibly relocating people from their forest, organizing false gram sabhas. “The future of Similipal is insecure without tribals”, he said, adding, “Implementation of FRA must go in full speed and true spirit to protect tribals rights.”

Comments

TRENDING

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.

Arrest of Fr Stan Swamy: UN makes public letter seeking explanation from Govt of India

Counterview Desk In a letter to the Government of India (GoI), three senior United Nations (UN) officials – Elina Steinerte, vice-chair of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; Mary Lawlor, special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders; and Fernand de Varennes, special rapporteur on minority issues – have said that the arrest of veteran activist Father Stan Swamy in October 2020 marks “the escalation of harassment the human rights defender has been subjected to since 2018.”

Farm laws 'precursor' to free trade deal envisaged by US corporates to allow GMO

By Rajiv Shah Did the Government of India come up with the three farm laws, first rushed by promulgating ordinances in June 2020, to not just open the country’s agricultural sector to the corporate sector but also as a precursor to comply with the requirements of the United States for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), as envisaged by the outgoing US president Donald Trump?

A new fad in India, coding-for-toddlers culture needs to be 'nipped' in the bud

By Aditya Pandey* We are all aware of the dire consequences of subjecting young kids to intense academic pressure from an early age. In India, we have coaching institutes like FIITJEE and Resonance offering programmes for 6th standard kids to prepare them for “NTSE, IJSO, PRMO and other Olympiads”. The duration of these programmes is around 175 hours – hours that could've been spent playing games and making friends instead.

Modi govt 'implementing' IMF-envisaged corporate takeover of Indian agriculture

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak* The surge of wealth of Indian billionaires and the Modi-led BJP government’s onslaught on poor, marginalised and farmers continue to grow simultaneously as masses face annihilating pandemic of coronavirus. There is 90 % rise of Indian billionaire’s wealth over last one decade. It is not accidental.

New trend? Riots 'expanded' to new rural areas post-2002 Gujarat carnage: Report

A VHP poster declaring a Gujarat village part of Hindu Rashtra  By Rajiv Shah  Buniyaad, a Gujarat-based civil society organization, engaged in monitoring of communal violence in the state, in a new report, “Peaceful Gujarat: An Illusion or Truth?” has said that a “new trend” has come about in communal violence in the state, where the parts of Gujarat which didn't see communal riots in 2002 are experiencing “regular bouts” of communal violence.

Differing from Ambedkar, Kancha Ilaiah holds a 'different' theory of caste system

By Banavath Aravind* I was introduced to Kancha Ilaiah’s work when I was about 20 years old. He was then in the midst of a controversy for a chapter in his book "Post-Hindu India: A Discourse in Dalit-Bahujan, Socio-Spiritual and Scientific Revolution", which termed the Baniya community as social smugglers. During many of his debates, I had come to notice his undeterred fighting spirit in trying to bring up certain fundamental social issues that were hitherto undiscussed. I eventually came across some of his works and started reading them silently. I’m deliberately stressing upon the word ‘silently’ here, as this was the kind of silence particularly associated with sensitive social issues like caste, religion, etc. But, as I write this essay, I feel silences on sensitive issues should be broken. Ilaiah opened up an entirely new debate that had the vigour and strength to counter the systemic Brahmanism. His methods of research were also novel in terms of going back to the roo

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

More than 5,200 Gujarat schools to be closed down, merged, says govt document

RTE Forum, Gujarat, releasing fact-sheet on education By Our Representative A Gujarat government document has revealed that it is planning to close down 5,223 schools in the name of school merger. The document, dated July 20, 201 was released by the Right to Education (RTE) Forum, Gujarat. It shows that the worst-affected districts because of this merger are those which are populated by marginalized communities – especially tribals, Dalits and minorities, said RTE Forum’s Gujarat convener Mujahid Nafees.

Consumption pattern, not economic shock behind 'poor' child health indicators

By Neeraj Kumar, Arup Mitra* The findings of the latest round of National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5) conducted in 2019-20 covering 22 States/UTs under Phase-I  present a somewhat disappointing picture of children’s health in India. Majority of the experts, based on prima facie evidence, just highlighted the deteriorating sign of child health in terms of increase in proportion of stunted and underweight children in most of the phase-I states/UTs over last two rounds of NFHS (2015-16 to 2019-20).