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

Impact of state repression? Kashmir's 65% people prefer independence: Cambridge study

By Rajiv Shah 
Even as the Government of India’s controversial move to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution and bifurcate Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) into two union territories is not only refusing to down die but has acquired international dimensions, a recent study, published by the Cambridge University Press, has claimed “pro-independence attitudes” among that 65% of Kashmiris, warning, this sentiment worsens when the state machinery resorts “repressive violence”.

Quit India Movement 'betrayal' and dubious role of Hindu Mahasabha, RSS leaders

By Shamsul Islam*
After the recent guillotine of Article 370, Hindutva ideologue Ram Madhav, while celebrating the occasion stated that it was honouring of the sacrifices of Dr Shyam Prasad Mukherjee and thousands others who laid down their lives for its removal. It is to be noted that Dr Mukherjee was a cadre of RSS and was groomed into a Hindutva leader by another Hindutva icon, VD Savarkar.

Congress' anti-democratic laws led to Modi govt's 'Constitutional' changes: Scholars

Counterview Desk
A large number of academics* said to be belonging to several Indian and international institutions, even as taking strong exception to the Narendra Modi government's alleged move to amend the Constitution through "illegitimate" means, have taken strong exception to their colleagues in academia who we have become "all too accustomed to adopting a calculated silence in the face of such indignities."

Kashmir normal? Schoolboys, teenagers being arbitrarily picked up, detained: Report

Counterview Desk
A four-person team, consisting of Jean Dr├Ęze, well-known development economist; Kavita Krishnan, who is with the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist); Maimoona Mollah of the All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA); and Vimal Bhai of the National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), back from a five-day fact-finding mission (August 9-13) from Kashmir, has said that people they spoke to “expressed their pain, anger, and sense of betrayal against the Government of India.”
In a report, “Kashmir Caged”, released along with a short eight-minute film, they said, the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A, dissolution of the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), and bifurcating it into two Union Territories, is not being supported by anyone they met, except for BJP spokesperson on Kashmir affairs Ashwani Kumar Chrungoo, who claimed 46% vote share in J&K.
Excerpts from the report: When our flight landed, and the airlines staff announced that passeng…

Dholera 'inundated': Gujarat govt tries selling low lying area as top smart city site

Counterview Desk
Even as the Dholera Special Investment Region Regional Development Authority (DSIRDA) of the Gujarat government was busy organising a junket for Gujarat-based journalists for the area sought to be sold as an ideal special investment region (SIR) for industrialists, well-known farmers' activist Sagar Rabari has wondered why no investor has so far agreed to put in money in an area situated in Ahmedabad district along the Gulf of Khambhat.

Skewed sex ratio 'behind' ban on rural Thakor girls' mobile use, inter-caste marriage

By Jharna Pathak*
On July 14, 2019, the Thakor community of 12 villages of Banaskantha district in Gujarat announced a ban on the use of mobile phones by unmarried women. Simultaneously, they imposed penalties on inter-caste marriages. The family of any girl of the community marrying without the consent of her parents would now be fined Rs 1.5 lakh while that of a boy marrying a girl from other community without his family’s consent would be penalised with a fine of Rs 2 lakh.

Kashmir kayoed, bhakts 'jubilant': Much like crowds when Hitler purged Jews, Catholics

By Fr Cedric Prakash sj*
August 12, 2019 was the great festival of Eid al-Adha (incidentally, for Jews, Christians and Muslims – the sacrifice of Abraham is a very significant one); for the people of Kashmir however, this year Eid was a sad day indeed, what with the lockdown and communications blockade!

Modi's Gujarati mind? Why govt move to 'sell-off' defence PSUs isn't in national interest

By Sandeep Pandey*
The Standing Committee on Defence, 2017-18, of the 16th Lok Sabha highlights the idea of Buy Indian-IDDM (Indigenously Designed Developed and Manufactured). The Committee expressed concern over the import content of equipments produced and developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Ordnance Factories (OFs) and defence Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) because of the dependence it creates for military hardware on foreign suppliers.

J&K curbs 'violate' International Covenant on civil, political rights: Letter to Modi

Counterview Desk
The International Federation for Human Rights (IFDH), a Paris-based human rights NGO with global presence, has sent an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying the decision to “reconfigurate” Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), remove its special status and impose a “complete lock-down of the region” violates Kashmiris’ “fundamental right to self-determination and their right to participate in crucial decisions that affect their lives.”

Modi's Kashmir move meant to 'solidify' Hindu majoritarianism, 'demonize' Muslims

By Battini Rao*
The parliament of India on August 6 put its stamp of approval on bills abrogating article 370 and downgrading the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) to two union territories. When the representatives of the people of India were deciding the fate of the state, the people of J&K were forced into collective house arrests.