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Uttarakhand's Vangujjar nomadic tribe faces eviction from forest "despite High Court order"

By Our Representative
The Vangujjar nomadic tribe from Aasa Rodhi Range, Ramgarh, Dehradun, Uttarakhand in Rajaji National Park is facing the threat of eviction threat from the state forest department. On August 5, range forest officials threatened two Vangujjar families of Gulam Mustafa Chopra and Noor Baksh, whose ancestors are residing in the forest for the last five centuries, to leave the forest within two days.
The All-India Union of Forest Working People (AIUFWP), in statement, said, these officials reached up to these families without prior notice and said if they do not leave their houses would be demolished. When Gulam Mustafa asked for the eviction order from the High Court the ranger said, "You go and take the order from director's office'. We will not show you."

To this, Gulam mustafa replied that Vangujjars have High Court order in their favour which says that "Until and unless the Vangujjars, a nomadic tribe, are not settled under the Forest Rights Act 2006 no eviction can take place."
Strongly condemning it as unconstitutional act of the forest department, AIUFWP said, "Vangujjar families are living in constant fear with their small children during the current rainy season. If they are uprooted where will they go? The government has till date not made any alternative arrangement, as per the Forest Rights Act.
On August 7, Vangujjars families along with AIUFWP leaders submitted memorandum and to the director, Rajaji National Park, to immediately stop eviction and withdraw its staff from the forest who are constantly threatening the families without any legal document.

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