Sunday, March 23, 2008

Appeal on FR Act in Salwa Judum affected areas

(children's at the SJ camp being made to forget about their homes with the help of Satellite T.V. provided by Tata Sky below.Ironically Salwa Judum started within few days of Tata Steel signing MOU with Chhattisgarh Governmnet.)(right is the shelter provided by the Salwa judum for the new entrants at the by Laureen Reagan)

Dear friends,

Please find pasted below an appeal from concerned citizens regarding
the Chhattisgarh government's plans to 'implement' the Forest Rights
Act in the areas affected by the Salwa Judum conflict in Bastar.
These plans will lead to lakhs of people losing their rights, illegal
expropriation of people's lands and, as the letter says, "terrible
subversion of justice."

Madhu Sarin


Dr Raman Singh,
Chief Minister,

Subject: Appeal to suspend the Recognition of Forest Rights in
Dantewada and Bijapur districts till people are able to return to
their villages.

Dear Dr Raman Singh,

We welcome the Chhattisgarh government's recent steps to implement
the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers
(Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006. According to the time
schedule for implementing the Act in Chhattisgarh issued by Shri
Shivraj Singh, Chief Secretary, Gram Sabhas for electing forest rights
committees were to be convened between February 25 and 29, 2008. The
Forest Rights Committees are expected to invite claims for recognition
of forest rights from March 1, 2008, with the entire process being
completed by June 30th. Given that neither the officials nor the
villagers yet have a clear understanding of the provisions of the Act,
and the high rates of seasonal migration out of the state, we are
concerned that many eligible claimants may not be able to make their
claims under such a rushed schedule.

However, we are particularly concerned about the rights of those
villagers in Dantewada and Bijapur districts who have been compelled
to leave their villages due to the ongoing Salwa Judum campaign
against naxalites. The total population of about 1200 villages in the
two districts is 7.19 lakhs, of which 78.5% is tribal. About 50% of
these villages, with an approximate population of 3.5 lakhs, is
currently displaced from their villages. While about 47,000 are living
in roadside camps set up by the state government, another 40,000 or so
have fled to the forest areas of Andhra Pradesh to escape the ongoing
violence between Salwa Judum and naxalites. The whereabouts of the
remaining 2,63,000 villagers from the abandoned villages is unknown.

In at least 644 abandoned villages in the two districts, no gram sabha
meetings required under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional
Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act for initiating the
process of recognition of rights can be organised under present
circumstances. At a meeting organised by the Department of Tribal
Welfare of Andhra Pradesh, it was decided that the Gutti Koyas who
have sought shelter in AP's forests from the naxal -Salwa Judam
violence in Chhattisgarh will not be eligible for recognition of land
and forest rights in Andhra. However, due to being displaced from
their own villages, they will not be able to claim their rights even
in their original villages in Chhattisgarh. Their being deprived of
rights in both Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh will be a terrible
subversion of justice.

Consequently, we appeal to you to suspend implementation of the Act in
the affected areas while facilitating speedy return of the villagers
to their own villages. In the meantime, no land should be allocated to
outsiders and no leases or prospecting licenses for minor minerals
should be given in these villages as under PESA. These also require
Gram Sabha permission, which is not possible under present

Yours sincerely,

Madhu Sarin, Environmentalist and Scholar

Nagaraj Adve, People's Union for Democratic Rights

Rohit Jain, Society for Rural, Urban and Tribal Initiative

C.R.Bijoy, People's Union for Civil Liberties (Tamil Nadu & Pondicherry)

Naga Peoples' Movement for Human Rights

Shankar Gopalakrishnan, Campaign for Survival and Dignity

Gautam Kumar Bandyopadhyay, People's Alliance for Livelihood Rights,


Dr. Nandini Sundar, Delhi University

Xavier Manjooran, Adivasi Mahasabha

Sharachchandra Lele, Senior Fellow & Coordinator, Centre for
Interdisciplinary Studies in Environment & Development

V.S.Roy David, National Convener, National Adivasi Alliance, Kodagu 57
1234, Karnataka.

Tribal Association for Fifth Schedule Campaign (TAFSC), Tamil Nadu

Shubhranshu Choudhary, Journalist

Professor Virginius Xaxa, Delhi University

Kundan Kumar, Phd Scholar

Dr Urmila Pingle, Anthropologist

Soma KP, gender and women's rights activist, New Delhi

Erica Rustom

Ville-Veikko Hirvelä

Rajesh R

James Pochury

Felix Padel

Manshi Asher, independent researcher, Himachal Pradesh

Malini Kalyanivala

Rishu Garg

Rajesh, Nange Paon Satyagraha, Chhattisgarh

Renji George Joseph, Alliance for Holistic and Sustainable Development
of Communities

cc: President of India
Minister, Tribal Affairs
Governor of Chhattisgarh
Commissioner, National Commission for Scheduled Tribes
Prime Minister
Secretary, Ministry of Tribal Affairs


sushilsingh said...

This Divine Land of Bastar is enriched with natural beauty which makes it a

paradise for tourists.The deep forest area between bushes and bamboos where one

always feel the absence of sunlight, wide and thick forests, between high

mountains cool flowing streams, There are so many places which are worth

seeing, not only in Bastar district, but also in the neighbouring districts of

Dantewada and Kanker, which are in Bastar division.
Please Visit For More Detail


Bastar said...

Bastar has changed.Thanks to the increasing number of paramilitary forces in this area.
All road side trees have been cut to make way for road-widening.