Forest Rights Act Vs. Atrocities of Forest Department

13th May 2012, Sidhi
On 13th May, the first stop of Yatra was at district headquarters of Sidhi where a meeting was organized at a school meant for deaf and dumb. Ex- MLA, Shree K.K Singh told that most of the Dalits and tribals were landless in district Sidhi. In spite of that, land acquisition is rampant in the name of rural development. Addressing the meeting Bhawar ji explained that dissatisfaction among rural masses was the main reason for organised crimes. Today, the Government is thinking only about development of cities but it is not worried about the development of landless farmers and villages which is resulting into a widened gap between village and town. The second stoppage of Yatra was in Jamua village of Sidhi district.

The State Coordinator of Ekta Parishad, Mr. Santosh Singh said that under the guise of Bandhavgarh National Park, the tribals were being harassed by the Forest Department. So far, about 300 Gond and Baiga tribal families in the region have got cases filed against them in violation of the Wildlife Protection Act whereas no action has been taken on any non-tribal in the cases of poaching by these influential people. Intact under the Forest Rights Act, community rights of tribals can be ensured and malfunctions can be overcome. Former MLA Mr. K.K. Singh told that in the Bandhavgarh National Park thousands of hectares of land was being transferred in the name of Buffer Zone, protection of wildlife and development of tourism, whereas no concrete plans had been implemented of rehabilitation for the displaced families till today.

Sometimes ago retired military persons were appointed as security staff on temporary in this National Park after which a rise in atrocities on tribals had been reported. He further told that the rights of tribals should recognize under the provisions of Panchayat Extension Act passed by Parliament many years ago. Addressing the meeting, Mr. Girdhari Lal told that traditional forest dwellers possessed the land records of
pre 1927 in the Majhouli area of Sidhi district but these families claimed for their land rights, they were rejected out rightly. It is a clear example of contradiction between policy and execution by the government that, on the one hand the rights of tribals for and forest dwellers are being legalized under Forest Rights Act by on the other hand; cases were being registered against tribals using their traditional rights in National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries. In these areas, the cases of assault on tribals by forest employees
are constantly cropping up. State coordinator of Ekta Parisad told that sit- ins were being organized by the
tribals in this area on the following issues:-

•In Village Sareha, land mafias have captured four and a half acres of land declaring Ramdhin Baiga as
dead and land lease has been snathed from the villagers.

•In village Jmua, mafias have illegally snathes 10 acres of land of Mr. Dhyansingh. In the same village the ownership rights of 8 acres of land of Ms. Rambai has been challenged by non tribals in the court.

•In village Pauri, the non-tribals have got 2.5 acres of land of Munnalal registered in their own name.

•In village Kuthar, the non-tribals forest mafias have got 4 acres of land of Munni Kol registered in their own name.

•In village Donga, the non-tribals have got 5 acres of land of Shukharnua have captuted and got registered in their own name.

•In village Dewa, Mr. Sukhlal Baiga has been charged of killing a Nilgai and cases of altercation and criminal charges have been registed against him. Ekta Parisad has sought answers from the state government on these issues. He told that if the cases registered against the tribals were not taken back by 2nd Oct 2012, thousands of tribal will join desasive movement Jansatyagrh 2012.

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