Residents of Chaukhand village have been opposing the construction of a dam on Kharak river passing through Barwani and Khargone districts. The state government began land acquisition for the dam in 2011 even before the project got forest and environment clearances. Construction work began in early 2012 but was stalled due to protests by the residents, who demanded a comprehensive rehabilitation policy before the dam came up. In July 2012, some people from the villages of Juna Bilwa, Kaniapani and Choukhand were forced to accept a paltry compensation of INR 40,000 per acre as opposed to the district collector's guidelines, which fixed the compensation amount at INR 1.6 lakh for noncultivable land and INR 3.20 lakh for irrigated land. The farmers were informed that they would be paid compensation in three instalments, and they were threatened with imprisonment until the project's completion if they protested. Meanwhile, residents of four other affected villages in Barwani district Kamat, Kaniapani, Julwania and Muvasia were denied compensation. These villages are located in a reserve forest area. While some of the tribal residents have been given land rights under the Forest Rights Act, the claims of other farmers are pending. Residents of all the affected villages in both the districts have been demanding rehabilitation since 2012 under the Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sangathan. The construction of the dam displaced more than 300 families in the two districts, with some agricultural fields submerging under the water released from the dam. In 2015, officials cracked down on their protests, resorting to brutal lathicharge of the tribals, including women and children, and arrest of 27 people. The matter was pushed to the Madhya Pradesh high court, which ordered rehabilitation in July 2016. In January 2017, the Supreme Court also categorically ordered that the displaced people be rehabilitated under the provisions of the Madhya Pradesh Rehabilitation Policy of 2002 and the resettlement and rehabilitation policy of 2008 under the Narmada Valley Development Authority. However, no compensation has been paid yet. In December 2019, the tribal community members protested in front of the district collectors office in Khargone. According to the report, they have resorted to Jail Bharo Andolan while raising slogan like Haq Nahi toh Jail Sahi (Jail is better than living without rights)'. An activist associated with Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sangathan told the media, The families have presented their rehabilitation claims time and again, but it did not yield any benefits. The entire compensation process is stalled and people are now in jail. The protesters have been singing songs of resistance and are on hunger strike. Moreover, 21 protesters were arrested on December 18 and released in two days, but they were reportedly beaten up in custody.
Demand/Contention of the Affected Community
Demand for rehabilitation, Demand for promised compensation, Demand for legal recognition of land rights
Government Bodies Involved in the Conflict:
Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change; Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Madhya Pradesh Police
Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:
Other Parties Involved in the Conflict:
Narmada Bachao Andolan, Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sangathan
Legislations Involved in the Conflict:
Land Acquisition Laws, Forest and Scheduled Area Governance Laws, Central/State Government Policy
Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:
Non-rehabilitation of displaced people, Lack of legal protection over land rights, Non-implementation/violation of the FRA, Constitutional inconsistencies between state and Central land laws, Violation of free prior informed consent, Controversial land acquisition by the government , Incorrect estimation of compensation, Forced evictions/ Dispossession of Land
Name(s) of Court(s)
High Court of Madhya Pradesh
W.P. No. 3435/2015
Nature of Protest
Protests/marches, Artistic and creative actions (Theatre, Music, Murals, etc), Hunger strikes
Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:
Arrest/detention/imprisonment, Physical attack, Lathi charge/tear gas/pellets, Threats/intimidation, Torture
Reported Details of the Violation:
In July 2015, 20 men and seven women (belonging to Bhil and Bhilala tribes) from the tribal village of Chaukhand in Khargone district were arrested while many others with them were brutally beaten up by police for protesting against the construction of the dam. Farmers were also threatened with imprisonment until the project's completion if they protested. Protesters were reportedly beaten up in custody.
Date of Violation
Location of Violation
Has the Conflict Ended?
When did it end?
Why did the conflict end?