Tribal groups to go ahead with Bharat bandh today despite SC stay on order directing eviction of 'illegal' forest-dwellers

Tribal outfits across states like Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, and north-east have called for a peaceful bandh.

FP Staff March 04, 2019 23:26:52 IST
Tribal groups to go ahead with Bharat bandh today despite SC stay on order directing eviction of 'illegal' forest-dwellers
  • Supreme Court on 28 February ordered the eviction of forest-dwelling tribal communities

  • It directed the state governments to file affidavits providing details of the process adopted in rejecting the claims of tribal groups

  • The Tribal groups are demanding that the Centre bring an ordinance to ensure their rights are protected

Tribal groups across the country called for a Bharat bandh on Tuesday to protest against the 13 February Supreme Court order directing 21 states to evict 11.8 lakh illegal forest and tribal dwellers, whose claims over the forest land have been rejected by the authorities.

On 28 February, a Supreme Court bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra, Naveen Sinha and MR Shah stayed the eviction order and directed the state governments to file affidavits providing details of the process adopted in rejecting the claims made by the Forest Dwelling Scheduled Tribes (FDSTs) and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (OTFDs).

The Tribal groups are demanding that the Centre bring an ordinance to ensure their rights are protected.

Tribal groups to go ahead with Bharat bandh today despite SC stay on order directing eviction of illegal forestdwellers

File image of Supreme Court of India. PTI

According to The Times of India, Adivasi and Dalit groups across states have called upon political and social activists to join them in their march from Mandi House to Jantar Mantar, Delhi on Tuesday to highlight the issue of restoring the Forest Rights Act.

They will protest also against Supreme Court upholding an Allahabad High Court order over reservation of SC/STs in the appointment of faculty members in universities, The Indian Express reported.

 Tribal outfits across states like Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, and north-east have called for a peaceful bandh.

On 27 February, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the Centre's plea seeking withholding of its 13 February. The Centre had rushed to the top court for modification of the order saying the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 was a "beneficial" legislation and should be construed liberally to help "extremely poor and illiterate people" who are not well informed of their rights and procedure under the law.

Earlier on 1 March, a fresh petition was filed in the top court seeking direction to the authorities not to evict any forest-dweller and setting up of a SIT to look into illegal acquisition of tribal land in the country.

The plea, filed by Chhattisgarh-based Tarika Tarangini Larka, also sought a direction to the Centre not to allot possession of any forest land belonging to tribals to anyone other than 'Adivasis' residing in that particular area.

Advocate ML Sharma, appearing for Tarika Tarangini Larka, mentioned the petition on Friday for urgent listing before a bench comprising Justices AK Sikri and SK Kaul.

In the petition, Tarika Tarangini Larka alleged that authorities in Tamnar of Raigarh district of Chhattisgarh have forcefully grabbed a large area of tribal land and handed it to outsiders and are now trying to oust Adivasis from the area.

"For this, they adopted simple strategy declaring forest-dwellers as non-Adivasis to grab their land in the forest and village by rejecting their claim upon the land," the plea said.

The plea has also sought restoration of land acquired by the government from tribals in Chhattisgarh for mining and other purposes and to provide them with a value of mined minerals.

The petition has also sought setting up of a special investigation team (SIT) comprising retired judges of the apex court to look into the illegal acquisition of land belonging to tribals throughout the country.

With inputs from PTI

Updated Date:

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