Skip to main content

Gujarat govt rejects 60% of tribal land claims, disallows protest rally in Ahmedabad: Tribal rights activist

A Gujarat tribal village
By Our Representative
A well-entrenched Gujarat tribal rights group, Ekalavya Sangathan, has said that the state government has so far recognized just 40.42% of the tribal claims for land out of a total of 1.83 lakh applications okayed by tribal village councils for regularizing forest land. The rest of the 59.68% “stand rejected”.
Talking with newspersons in Ahmedabad a day ahead of a rally planned for regularizing the land rights of the tribals, Paulomee Mistry, executive secretary, Ekalavya, said, as many as seven Indian states have “performed better than Gujarat” in regularizing forest for tribal and other forest dwellers under the Forest Rights Act (FRA), 2006.
“The states where a higher percentage of tribal land rights have been recognized are Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Kerala, Odisha, Rajasthan, Telangana and Tripura”, Mistry said, adding, “Now, in utter disregard of the FRA, 2016, the state government claims it has completed its job of scanning all the applicants, and it believes it does not need to do anything more.”
Mistry insisted, “While the tribals are clearly angry, in a clear signal that they are not being given the democratic space, they have not been given the permission for their proposed rally with Ekalavya support. The rally was to start at the district collector's office in Ahmedabad at 12 noon. As many as 4,000 tribals are expected to come from six districts. We will, however, hold a mass demonstration at Sardar Bagh, for which we have been given permission.”
Saying the massive rejections would force as many as 1,08,948 claimants to go into an appeal, Mistry said, “Even those who have been given land haven't yet become the legal owners. They have only received cultivation rights, and not land titles, which means that the land still belongs to the state forest or revenue department.”
Under the FRA, 2006, all the tribals and other forest dwellers who had been cultivating forest land as on December 13, 2005 would receive land ownership title. The land legally transferred to a tribal, according to the law, cannot be sold or transferred to anyone except by inheritance.
Contending that these are official figures, released by the Government of India on January 11, 2016, Mistry accused the state government of moving at an “extremely slow pace” in providing land titles. “Almost no one of the 73,921 forest dwellers. who have been given cultivation rights, have so far received the titles”, she said, adding, “Of these, 73,921 tribals,we estimate, 20 per cent are fake.”
Mistry said, “What is also appalling is that, the tribals do not know whom to appeal against the rejections, as the forest rights committees, whom they should be approaching, have still not been formed, such as in Sabarkantha district's Vadali and Idal talukas, Aravalli district's Meghraj, Malpur and Modasa talukas.”
She further said, “In Jhalod taluka of Dahod district, the state government has not even begun scanning the tribal land claims after then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi's tall promises on December 31, 2003”, adding, “In Virpur and Balasinor talukas of Kheda district, forms for making forest land available have not even been distributed.”

Comments

TRENDING

Telangana govt proposes to give unfettered powers to forest officials, 'help' corporates

By Dr Palla Trinadha Rao*
The Telangana Government is contemplating to replace the Telangana Forest Act 1967 with a new law - the Telangana Forest Act (TFA) 2019, trampling the rights of adivasis ensured under the Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 (FRA Act 2006) and Panchayats Extension to Schedule Area (PESA) Act 1996 both of which are central acts.

Lynching as state terror? Complete dearth of 'political will' to deal with mob violence

By Fr Cedric Prakash sj*
On Friday July 5, thousands of people had gathered at a rally in Surat to protest against the growing mob lynching incidents in different parts of the country. There are different interpretations at what happened during the rally: with police blaming the rallyists and those in the rally blaming the police for using teargas shells upon them without any reason.

RSS, Hindu Mahasabha were 'subservient' to British masters: Nagpur varsity VC told

Counterview Desk
Well-known political scientist Shamsul Islam, associate professor (retired), University of Delhi, in an open letter to the vice-chancellor of the Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University, Dr Siddharthavinayaka P Kane, has taken strong exception to the varsity decision to include RSS’ “role” in nation building in the syllabus of the BA (history) course, citing instances to say that the RSS ever since its birth in 1925 with its Hindutva allies like Hindu Mahasabha led by VD Savarkar worked overtime to “betray the glorious anti-colonial freedom struggle”.

One lakh schools closed down, draft policy 'seeks' commercialisation: Whither RTE?

By Our Representative
A national consultation on the new draft National Education Policy (NEP) with senior experts, teachers’ association representatives and other stakeholders at the India International Centre in New Delhi on July 11, organised by the Right to Education (RTE) Forum, has expressed serious concern over curtailment in the budgeted expenditure on education year after year, even as closure of more than one lakh schools over the "last few years."

British companies export 'deadly' asbestos to India, other countries from offshore offices

By Rajiv Shah
“The Sunday Times”, which forms part of the powerful British daily, “The Times”, has raised the alarm that though the “deadly” asbestos is banned in Britain, companies registered in United Kingdom, and operating from other countries, “are involved in shipping it to developing nations”, especially India. India, Brazil, Russia and China account for almost 80% of the asbestos consumed globally every year, it adds.

Mental health: India's 95% patients "deprived" of medical care, treatment gap 70%

By Moin Qazi*
Among the many challenges India faces, the most underappreciated is the ongoing mental health crisis. Mental illness is actually India’s ticking bomb. An estimated 56 million Indians suffer from depression, and 38 million from anxiety disorders. For those who suffer from mental illness, life can seem like a terrible prison from which there is no hope of escape; they are left forlorn and abandoned, stigmatized, shunned and misunderstood.

Gender budgeting? Govt of India allocates just 2.1%, 0.73% for SC, ST women

By Rajiv Shah
The National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR), one of the most influential all-India Dalit rights networks, has taken strong exception to the manner in which the Government of India has undermined Gender Responsive Budgeting in the Union Budget 2019-20 for scheduled castes (SCs) and scheduled tribes (STs), pointing towards “wide gaps” between the goals and the situational reality of “the Dalit and Adivasi women on the ground.”

UN report notes 'suppression' of Kashmiri independence groups in Pakistan

By Our Representative
A top United Nations (UN) body has suggested that the intense fervour of Kashmiri nationalism isn’t just sweeping the Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) state but is equally strong in the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), pointing towards how the Pak authorities have been seeking to suppress it by placing restrictions on rights to freedoms of expression and opinion, assembly and association on every section of PoK’s population.

Campaign 'victory': Bihar considers ban on asbestos, carcinogenic to humans

Counterview Desk
In a major victory for anti-asbestos campaigners, the Bihar government has said that it is considering an immediate ban on use of asbestos&based products of all kinds in the state. Speaking in the state assembly, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar insisted on the need to taking a strong policy decision against carcinogenic asbestos factories.
A communication, meanwhile, has been forwarded  to the health secretary by Kumar, referring to concerns of Dr Gopal Krishna, who heads the Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI) "on hazardous asbestos factories to the health department." Krishna said that the health department should looking into the demand for the creation of a register of victims of asbestos related diseases.
He added, the government should also create a register asbestos laden buildings and products in general and a probe on the health status of workers, their families and communities linked to and in proximity of the two units of asbestos factories…

Satellite data 'identify' Gujarat's Mundra among 6 of India's top air pollution hotspots

By Rajiv Shah
A fresh study, which analyzes data between February 2018 and May 2019, obtained from Tropomi, a satellite instrument on board the Dutch Copernicus Sentinel-5 Precursor satellite, has warned that coal-fired power plants and industrial clusters are India’s “worst nitrogen oxides (NOx) hotspots” contributing hugely to air pollution in Sonbhadra-Singrauli in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, Korba in Chhattisgarh, Talcher in Odisha, Chandrapur in Maharashtra, Mundra in Gujarat and Durgapur in West Bengal.