Farmers’ body plans campaign over eviction of forest dwellers

February 25, 2019 12:00 am | Updated 04:58 am IST - BERHAMPUR

Critical of Central government’s attitude; vows to resist eviction

The All India Kisan Mazdoor Sabha (AIKMS) is planning a nationwide campaign to expose the Narendra Modi-led Central government’s “anti-forest dweller” attitude and its “collusion” with corporate houses that may lead to eviction of lakhs of tribals and others from their traditional habitat.

Through a statement, the central executive committee of AIKMS has strongly opposed the recent order of the Supreme Court to evict people from forests, whose claims as forest dwellers under the Forest Rights Act, 2006, has been rejected. It has demanded immediate review of the order and vowed to resist eviction.

‘Bring ordinance’

“We have also demanded that the Central government bring in an ordinance to stop eviction of forest dwellers,” said AIKMS national secretary Bhala Chandra Shadangi. The Kisan Sabha was critical of the Central government for not arguing in favour of forest dwellers in the Supreme Court. Over 20 lakh poor forest dwellers are about to lose their rights over land as their claims were rejected for trivial reasons and the government elected by them did not stand up in their support, alleged the organisation.

“Despite the fact that several organisations had informed Union Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram about the government’s attitude during the past three hearings, the government intentionally failed to have its lawyer during the hearing on February 13, and the three-judge Bench passed order to States to evict tribals whose claims have been rejected and submit a report to the Supreme Court by July 27,” he said.

“As per the Fifth Schedule, two-third of forests belong to the tribals. The Centre should have defended the rights of these forest dwellers but it has failed in its duty,” he said.

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