Chhattisgarh Forest Department Demolishes 35 Houses without Notice, Offers No Compensation

Reported by

Deepika JoshiLand Conflict Watch

Last updated on

September 2, 2021

Location of Conflict

Biranpara village, Dugli panchayat


This is a Left Wing Extremism Affected District

This is A Schedule Five District

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Forest Administration (Other than Protected Areas)



People Affected by Conflict


Land Area Affected (in Hectares)



Starting Year





Conservation and Forestry

On October 13, 2020, houses of 35 tribal families were demolished in Biranpara village in Dhamtari district, allegedly by the Joint Forest Management Committee (JFMC) of Dugli village and neighbouring Dinkarpur village. During the eviction, standing crops were destroyed and food grains were set on fire. Under the National Forest Policy of 1988, JFMCs are formed by communities for the protection and management of forests. Its Executive Committee has the power to make arrangements to prevent encroachments. Biranpara is a forest village under the jurisdiction of Dugli panchayat and is home to about 100 households. The families whose homes were demolished claim to have been occupying and cultivating about 100120 acres of land in the village since 199394. Around six families claim to have land titles and informed LCW that they had applied for forest rights under the Forest Rights Act, 2006, several times, but their claims were always rejected verbally, and they did not get receipts of their applications. Without legal rights over the land, the JFMC called them encroachers and started demolishing their houses. In a factfinding report, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has accused the JFMC of the demolition. "The JFMC made the first demolition attempt in 2015, few days after these households were given a No Objection Certificate by the panchayat, headed by then sarpanch (head of panchayat) Ramkanwar Mandavi, verifying that the households are residents of that area," Sameer Quereshi, CPI(M) coordinator for Dhamtari district, told LCW.  The factfinding report calculated a loss of INR 6 lakh per household, including property damage, crop loss and court expenses, and a total loss value of INR 2 crore over the last five years. According to the report, the harassment started five years ago. Since then, the JFMC made three demolition attempts in 2015, 2017 and 2020 – and destroyed crops. The affected families say they have been facing social boycott by the residents of Dugli, Dinkarpur and neighboring villages since 2015. This has affected their work prospects too. Quereshi further told LCW that the forest department had filed several complaints and legal charges against the residents of the 35 households, which resulted in their imprisonment. They were released on bail only after an order from the Chhattisgarh high court. The villagers also allege that the dominant castes/communities want to evict them from the land and occupy their land as well as the surrounding forestland. The land, located close to the main road, is much sought after. After the demolition incident in 2020, the 35 households tried to file a police complaint, but the police refused to intervene citing Section 155 of the Criminal Procedure Code (whereas a police officer cannot investigate a noncognisable case without the order of a magistrate**) **and referred them to a magistrate. Protesting against the inaction of the authorities, the families submitted a memorandum to the district collector. But there was still no action. The families then sat on a twoday strike, but nothing happened. It was only when they threatened to march to the chief ministers house that officials from the district administration stopped them, assuring action against the perpetrators of the violence. No compensation/relief has been offered to the families so far. A month after the incident, a government team reached the village for investigation and did not find any evidence to prove that the 35 families were legal residents of the village. District Collector J.P. Maurya told LCW that officials from the forest department and sub divisional magistrate office inspected the village thrice. He reiterated that these families are encroachers and that the JFMC is merely checking encroachment. However, on asking why the houses were demolished without any notice/procedure even if it is a case of encroachment, Maurya could not give a satisfactory reply. He also denied any social boycott of the families.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand for rehabilitation, Demand for legal recognition of land rights

Compensation for lost property and end to violence

Region Classification


Type of Land


Type of Common Land

Forest and Non-Forest, Non-Forest (Grazing Land)

Total investment involved (in Crores):

Type of investment:

Year of Estimation

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, Other

Legislations/Policies Involved

  1. Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006

    Section 4 [Recognition and vesting of forest rights mentioned in Section 3, with Scheduled Tribe]

  2. Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973

    Section 155(2) [No police officer shall investigate a non-cognisable case without the order of a magistrate having the power to try such a case or commit the case for trial]

  3. Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989

    Section 3(1)(v) [Wrongfully dispossessing a member of the Scheduled Tribe community of their land and interfering with the enjoyment of their land rights]

  4. Joint Forest Management: A Handbook

    Table 16.1: [Responsibility of the Joint Forest Management Committee in the prevention of encroachment]; Provision 13.4: [The Executive Committee has the power to make arrangements to prevent encroachment]

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:

Forced evictions/ Dispossession of Land, Lack of legal protection over land rights, Non-implementation/violation of the FRA, Violation of free prior informed consent, Non-rehabilitation of displaced people

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

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

Arrest/detention/imprisonment, Displacement, Judicial harassment

Whether criminal law was used against protestors

Official name of the criminal law. Did the case reach trial?

Reported Details of the Violation:

The Joint Forest Management Committee demolished the houses of 35 tribal families. During the eviction, standing crops were destroyed and food grains were set on fire. The forest department had reportedly filed several complaints and legal charges against the residents of the 35 households, which resulted in their imprisonment.

Date of Violation

October 13, 2020

Location of Violation

Biranpara, Dugli village

Nature of Protest

Complaints, petitions, memorandums to officials

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Forest Department

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?


Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached

District Magistrate J.P. Maurya told LCW that the houses were demolished because the families have encroached the land where the Joint Forest Management Committee (JFMC) is carrying out work. He did not explain why the houses were demolished without notice (even if it was encroachment) or whether the JFMC is authorised to demolish houses and what immediate relief was provided to the households. Jitendra Kurrey, sub divisional magistrate of Nagri block, informed the researcher that he is not authorised to comment on the issue.

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

Name, Designation and Comment of Corporate Authorities Approached

Other Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:
No Images Available

Documented By

Deepika Joshi

Reviewed By

Deepika Joshi

Updated By

Deepika Joshi

Edited By

Deepika JoshiLand Conflict Watch

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