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

Hindutva founders 'borrowed' Nazi, fascist idea of one flag, one leader, one ideology

By Shamsul Islam*
With the unleashing of the reign of terror by the RSS/BJP rulers against working-class, peasant organizations, women organizations, student movements, intellectuals, writers, poets and progressive social/political activists, India also witnessed a series of resistance programmes organized by the pro-people cultural organizations in different parts of the country. My address in some of these programmes is reproduced here... 
***  Before sharing my views on the tasks of artists-writers-intellectuals in the times of fascism, let me briefly define fascism and how it is different from totalitarianism. Totalitarianism is political concept, a dictatorship of an individual, family or group which prohibits opposition in any form, and exercises an extremely high degree of control over public and private life. It is also described as authoritarianism.
Whereas fascism, while retaining all these repressive characteristics, also believes in god-ordained superiority of race, cultur…

Gujarat refusal to observe Maulana Azad's birthday as Education Day 'discriminatory'

By Our Representative
The Gujarat government decision not to celebrate the National Education Day on !monday has gone controversial. Civil society organizations have particularly wondered whether the state government is shying away from the occasion, especially against the backdrop of "deteriorating" level of education in Gujarat.

Congress 'promises' cancellation of Adani power project: Jharkhand elections

Counterview Desk
Pointing out that people's issues take a backseat in Jharkhand's 2019 assembly elections, the state's civil rights organization, the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha, a coalition of activists and people’s organisations, has said that political parties have largely ignored in their electoral manifestos the need to implement the fifth schedule of the Constitution in a predominantly tribal district.

Banned? Indian ports 'received' 38 US plastic waste containers reexported from Indonesia

By Rajiv Shah
An Indonesia-based international environmental watchdog group has dug out what it has called “a global pollution shell game”, stating how officials in Indonesia approved re-exports of “illegal” US waste shipments containing plastics mainly to India, as also to other Asian countries -- Thailand, South Korea and Vietnam -- instead of returning them to the US “as promised.”

Ex-World Bank chief economist doubts spurt in India's ease of doing business rank

By Rajiv Shah
This is in continuation of my previous blog where I had quoted from a commentary which top economist Prof Kaushik Basu had written in the New York Times (NYT) a little less than a month ago, on November 6, to be exact. He recalled this article through a tweet on November 29, soon after it was made known that India's growth rate had slumped (officially!) to 4.5%.

With RSS around, does India need foreign enemy to undo its democratic-secular fabric?

By Shamsul Islam*
Many well-meaning liberal and secular political analysts are highly perturbed by sectarian policy decisions of RSS/BJP rulers led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, especially after starting his second inning. They are vocal in red-flagging lynching incidents, policies of the Modi government on Kashmir, the National Register of Citizens (NRC), the demand for 'Bharat Ratna' to Savarkar who submitted 6-7 mercy petitions to the British masters (getting remission of 40 years out of 50 years' sentence), and the murder of constitutional norms in Goa, Karnataka and now in Maharashtra.

Rushdie, Pamuk, 260 writers tell Modi: Aatish episode casts chill on public discourse

Counterview Desk
As many as 260 writers, journalists, artists, academics and activists across the world, including Salman Rushdie, British Indian novelist, Orhan Pamuk, Turkish novelist and recipient of the 2006 Nobel Prize in literature, and Margaret Atwood, Canadian poet and novelist, have called upon Prime Minister Narendra Modi to review the decision to strip British Indian writer Aatish Taseer of his overseas Indian citizenship.

Worrying signs in BJP: Modi, Shah begin 'cold-shouldering' Gujarat CM, party chief

By RK Misra*
The political developments in neighbouring Maharashtra where a Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government assumed office has had a trickle down effect in Gujarat with both the ruling BJP and the Congress opposition going into revamp mode.

Church in India 'seems to have lost' moral compass of unequivocal support to the poor

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*
In 2017, Pope Francis dedicated a special day, to be observed by the Universal Church, every year, as the ‘World Day of the Poor’. This year it will be observed on November 17 on the theme ‘The hope of the poor shall not perish for ever’; in a message for the day Pope Francis says:

'Discussed' with Modi, Gujarat Rann Sarovar proposal for Kutch runs into rough weather

By Rajiv Shah
Top Saurashtra industrialist Jaysukhbhai Patel’s by now controversial proposal to convert the 4,900 sq km Little Rann of Kutch area, an eco-sensitive zone – a UNESCO biosphere, world’s only wild ass reserve, and a nesting ground of lesser flamingoes – into a huge sweet water lake, called Rann Sarovar, has suffered a major roadblock. At least three Central agencies have expressed serious doubts about its feasibility.