Chhattisgarh Forest Department Ransacks Homes of 17 Tribal Families in Kanker's Saraipani

Reported by

Deepika Joshi

Legal Data by

Anmol Gupta, Mukta Joshi

Edited by

Moushumi Sharma

Updated by

Published on

March 24, 2022

March 24, 2022

Updated on

March 24, 2022

Location of Conflict

Saraipani

Sarona

Kanker

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Forest Administration (Other than Protected Areas)

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

105

Households Affected by Conflict

21

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

28

ha

Starting Year

2006

State

Chhattisgarh

Sector

Conservation and Forestry

On February 8, 2021, the forest department allegedly destroyed the homes of 17 tribal families living in Saraipani area in Kanker district’s Sarona region. According to the residents, a group of 50-60 people arrived in the village and started destroying the houses. The group reportedly included 10-12 beat guards and forest rangers, residents of the neighbouring Bangabari and Khallari villages and members of the Joint Forest Management Committee of the adjoining villages.

The officials allegedly ransacked the houses and stole farming equipment, ration, cash and poultry. A resident told LCW that they also threw away cooked food, and when a woman protested, a female forest officer manhandled her. Another resident added that the forest department destroyed items, including radio and clothes.

The village residents informed LCW that a 25-year-old youth, Dinesh Mandavi, was reported missing since the day of the attack. Some eyewitnesses claimed that he had run off to the forest after being chased by the group.

Following the incident, the affected families visited the Kanker police station on February 11 and submitted written complaints about the destruction of their properties and also filed a report on the missing youth. Mandavi was found two months later.** **The community has also been demanding compensation for the losses they have incurred in the attacks and due to the confiscation of their properties by the forest department over the years.

Speaking to a fact-finding team of the People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), of which this researcher was a member, the upsarpanch (deputy sarpanch) of Bangabari panchayat, Shivlal Singh Netam, said, “We were taken by the forest department” for the attack on Saraipani. They had arranged for a vehicle to take the group there.” He added that in a Gram Sabha hearing of Bangabari village in January 2021, the forest department was present and it had suggested that notices be sent to the Saraipani residents to vacate the village.

According to the fact-finding report, Saraipani was reportedly attacked earlier too in 2004 and 2006. The village, comprising 21 households, falls in the reserve forest area of Bangabari panchayat, but it has not been given the status of a revenue village yet.

In 1968, the Kachru family from the Raut caste was one of the first families to move to the forest. Over the years, many other families migrated from nearby blocks and districts. The forest department and adjoining villages consider these families ‘encroachers’ and want to evict them. The fact-finding report notes that the forest department had used the neighbouring villages to intimidate and carry out organised attacks in the habitations it considered ‘illegal’. The Saraipani residents, meanwhile, continue to live on the land despite the attack and threats of eviction.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand for legal recognition of land rights

Demand for compensation

Demand to retain/protect access to common land/resources

Other Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Common and Private

Type of Common Land

Forest

Total investment involved (in Crores):

Type of investment:

Year of Estimation

Page Number In Investment Document:

Has the Conflict Ended?

No

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Legislations/Policies Involved

Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006
Section 3 [Rights of forest-dwelling tribes to include right to hold and live on forestland]; Section 4(5) [Forest-dwelling tribes to not be evicted or removed from forest until recognition and verification of claims under this Act are complete]; Section 4(8) [Rights of forest-dwelling tribes to accrue when forest dwellers have been displaced from their land without compensation]
Chhattisgarh Panchayat Raj Adhiniyam, 1993
Section 49 [Powers and functions of Gram Panchayat include preservation and welfare of Panchayat Forests]
Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996
Section 4(m) [Gram Sabha or Panchayat to have the power to prevent alienation of land from Scheduled Areas and to take steps to restore such alienated land]
Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996
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    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

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    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  7. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

Whether claims/objections were made as per procedure in the relevant statute

Yes

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

The affected community filed an objection under Section 4(5) of the Forest Rights Act, which states that "no member of a forest-dwelling Scheduled Tribe or other traditional forest dwellers shall be evicted or removed from forest land under his occupation till the recognition and verification procedure is complete”.

What was the Decision of the Concerned Government Department?

No redressal

Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:

Non-implementation/violation of FRA

Forced evictions/dispossession of land

Non-payment of compensation/promised compensation

Lack of legal protection over land rights

Violation of fundamental rights

Legal Status:

Out of Court

Status of Case In Court

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

No

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:

Displacement

Physical attack

Raid/break-in/theft

Other harassment

Whether criminal law was used against protestors:

No

Reported Details of the Violation:

Forest department officials allegedly ransacked houses and stole farming equipment, ration, cash and poultry. A resident told LCW that the officials also threw away cooked food, and when a woman protested, a female officer manhandled her.

Date of Violation

February 7, 2021

Location of Violation

Saraipani village

Nature of Protest

Complaints/petitions/letters/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

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

Communities/Local Organisations in the Conflict:

Residents of Saraipani and Bangabari villagers

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:
A damaged house in Saraipani village

A damaged house in Saraipani village

Image Credit:  

Deepika Joshi

A damaged house in Saraipani village

A house damaged by the forest department

Image Credit:  

Deepika Joshi

Documented By

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Reviewed By

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Updated By

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Edited By

Text LinkLand Conflict Watch
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