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Nationwide protests against efforts to 'undermine' Forest Rights Act

By Our Representative
Responding to a national call for action by the Bhumi Adhikar Andolan (BAA), more than hundred protest demonstrations and public meeting were organised across the country on Monday, expressing their "disappointment" for the "shoddy" manner in which State governments and the Central government are dealing with the implementation of the Forest Rights Act (FRA).
Adivasis and other traditional forests dwellers submitted memorandums to the Prime Minister, Chief Ministers and the Ministry for Tribal Affairs through their district administration authorities and demanded that their rights are recognised through effective implementation of FRA. They also sought withdrawal of the Forest Rights Act (Amendment) Bill 2019.
Protest demonstrations were held in Tripura, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Delhi, Rajasthan, Kerala, and Uttar Pradesh.
The action happened in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling on February 13 asking for eviction of millions of Adivasis and other traditional forest-dwelling communities, since their claims under the FRA have been rejected.
After the countrywide protests against this ruling, at the intervention of the Union government, the Supreme Court amended and stayed it till July 10. Using the Supreme Court ruling, the forest department is pushing people out of their lands, destroying their farm fields and several such instances have been reported since then, the protesters alleged.
The Supreme Court is due to hear the different petitions on the issue July 24.
A BAA demonstration at Jantar Mantar, Delhi, was addressed by street and said the following Hannan Mollah and Vijoo Krishnan (All India Kisan Sabha), Roma (All India Union of Forest Working People), Jaikaran (All India Kisan Khet Mazdoor Sangathan), Mujahid Nafees (Minority Coordination Committee, Gujarat), others.

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