Need to Safeguard Scheduled Tribes of India


The Union Government failed to present its lawyers in defence of the Forest Rights Act on February 13, leading a three-judge bench of Arun Mishra, Navin Sinha and Indira Banerjee to pass orders giving states till July 27 to evict tribals whose claims had been rejected and submit a report on it to the Supreme Court. The written order was released on February 20, 2019. The court said that the state governments would “ensure that where the rejection orders have been passed, eviction will be carried out on or before the next date of hearing. In case the eviction is not carried out, as aforesaid, the matter would be viewed seriously by this Court.” The next date of hearing is set for July 27 – the effective date by when states would have to evict tribals to comply with the court orders.

The total number of rejected claims from 16 states that have reported rejection rates so far to the apex court add up to 1,127,446 tribal and other forest-dwelling households shows an analysis of the court order. Several other states that have not provided details to court have been asked to do so. Once they follow suit these numbers are likely to swell. The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act 2006 (FRA) which was passed during the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance’s first tenure, requires the government to hand back traditional forestlands to tribals and other forest-dwellers against laid down criteria. The Act, passed in 2006, has seen opposition from within ranks of forest officials as well as so called…some wildlife groups and naturalists. This, combined with the fact that at the ground level it is the forest bureaucracy that has to administer the law has made the implementation difficult and tardy.

Already over 56% of the Scheduled Tribes are displaced due to development projects and forest conservation plans. Now, this order makes adivasis into miserable situation. Historically, whole forest and natural resources were protected and conserved by the tribal people. Forest Department that was formed in 1862 began a new history use of timber, the Forest Act of 1864 curtailed rights of local people, then the Indian Forest Act 1927, and further the Wild Life (Protection) Act (1972) are forced for migration pushed tribals into starvation. In the name of environment conservation, how can the indigenous people who have living historically with nature as their mother can be displaced? This eviction order should not have made and the Supreme Court needs to consult the adivasi leaders and the concern tribal department, because it is about millions of people who are true citizens of this country. It is question of “Right to Life as per Article 21 of the Constitution”.

Points for Action:

We wait for your response and expecting your cooperation!
Thank You and Sincerely

Dr. K. Krishnan & Team
Tribal Associations of South India

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