Adivasis struggle for land titles in Arippa Forests

Reported by

Dr. K.H. Amitha Bachan

Legal Data by

Edited by

Updated by

Published on

September 16, 2016

September 16, 2016

Updated on

September 16, 2016

Location of Conflict

Arippa

Kollam

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Forest Administration (Other than Protected Areas)

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

1200

Households Affected by Conflict

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

36

ha

Starting Year

2012

State

Kerala

Sector

Conservation and Forestry

The 90 acre Arippa revenue forest in Kulathupuzha village was in the possession of a business baron (Late) Thangal Kunju Musaliar. The forest land was leased to him for 90 years, which he had retained for 102 years. When the land tenure expired in 2001, the Kerala Government took over the forest and declared it as surplus revenue land. In 2009, the Kerala Government decided to set aside 21.54 acres of the 90 acre Aippa revenue forest in Kulathupuzha village for the beneficiaries of the Chengara package. The remaining 68.46 acres was kept aside for institutional development. On December 31, 2012 around 1,300 Adivasis, Dalits and landless poor occupied the land and built houses in Arippa forest. They claim that a part of the forest was surplus revenue land meant for redistribution among the landless tribals. Under the banner of Adivasi Dalit Munetta Samiti (ADMS), the agitators raised the slogan of wanting land for cultivation. Among the protesters were people who had taken part in the historic Chengara land struggle and were given title deeds, but found themselves cheated, when they realized that the land allotted to them was neither fit for cultivation nor was it suitable for habitation. The Arippa Bhoosamaram (Land struggle) is led by Sreeraman Koyyon, who is also the president of Adivasi Dalit Munnetta Samiti (ADMS). Koyyon claims that the Arippa land struggle is actually a continuation of the Chengara struggle. He states that the renewed struggle in Arippa is to force the government to look at the plight of a marginalised section of society. In 2014, after one and half year of relentless struggle, the representatives of the 1,300 Adivasis, Dalits and landless families headed by Sreeraman Koyyon took out a march to the Indian Parliament on February 7 to reiterate their demand for cultivable land. The protesters intended to call the attention of the Union Government to the indifference of the Government of Kerala in solving the landlessness issue of the Adivasis and Dalits in Kerala. They submitted memorandums to the office of the Prime Minister and the Union Minister for Rural Development, and sought their intervention to resolve the agitation at the earliest. The protesters reiterated their demand for the allocating 10 cents of land for the construction of houses and one hectare of land for cultivation. Following this, a discussion was called by the Chief Minister of Kerala with the representatives of the Adivasis and the Dalits protesting in Arippa. The suggestion by the then Chief Minister, Oommen Chandy, to give 3 cents of land to each family was rejected by the representatives. Following this, no study or no decision on the plight of the famileis were undertaken by the government. However, the struggle had ever since continued. In April 2019, it was reported that the families are still living in the Arippa Forest in shanties and are persistent in their demand for land. Ahead of the 2019 general elections, they decided to boycott polling in protest over the lack of response of the government towards their struggles. Again in December 2019, the families marched from Arippa to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan's residence in Thiruvananthapuram. When the reached on January 1, 2020, the police blocked them and forcefully evicted them from the area. Presently, there are 600 families still living in the forests in their shanty made out of tarpaulin sheets. They have been cultivating paddy on the nearby land which the government has ordered them not to cultivate anymore.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand for promised land

Other Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Common

Type of Common Land

Forest and Non-Forest

Total investment involved (in Crores):

Type of investment:

Year of Estimation

Page Number In Investment Document:

Has the Conflict Ended?

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Forest and Scheduled Area Governance Laws, Land Acquisition Laws

Legislations/Policies Involved

Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006
Section 3: Forest rights, including right to hold and live in the forest land [(3(1)(a)], right of ownership, access to collect, use, and dispose of minor forest produce [3(1)(c)]; Section 4: Vesting the forest rights with Scheduled Tribes, S 4(d) mandates that resettlement needs to provides a secure livelihood for the affected individuals and S 4(f) mentions that no resettlement shall take place until compensation is processed
Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013
Section 32:Provision of infrastructural amenities in resettlement area (mentioned in Third Schedule); Schedule 2, Item 2: Land for land, families losing agricultural land, should be given land as compensation, with an inflated amount of land when it is Scheduled Tribes who are affected;
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Whether claims/objections were made as per procedure in the relevant statute

What was the claim(s)/objection(s) raised by the community?

What was the Decision of the Concerned Government Department?

Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:

Non-implementation/violation of FRA

Non-rehabilitation of displaced people

Lack of legal protection over land rights

Legal Status:

Out of Court

Status of Case In Court

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

Case Number

Main Reasoning/Decision of court

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

Physical attack

Whether criminal law was used against protestors:

Reported Details of the Violation:

The protestors marched to Chief Ministers residence to demand for land when the police blocked them and forcefully removed them from the area. They allege that the police also dragged women who were carrying babies

Date of Violation

January 1, 2020

Location of Violation

Cliff House, Thiruvananthapuram

Nature of Protest

Complaints/petitions/letters/memorandums to officials

Development of a network or collective

Land occupation

Protests/marches

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Scheduled Castes Development Department, Revenue Department, Forest Department

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?

Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

Communities/Local Organisations in the Conflict:

Ekta Parishath ; Adivasi Dalit Munnetta Samithi (ADMS)

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:

Image Credit:  

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Documented By

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Reviewed By

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Updated By

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Edited By

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