Villagers in UP's Dudwa Tiger Reserve Face Human Rights Violations, Eviction Notices

Reported by

Eleonora Fanari

Legal Data by

Edited by

Updated by

Published on

October 20, 2016

October 20, 2016

Updated on

October 20, 2016

Location of Conflict

Surma

Lakhimpur Kheri

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Protected Areas

(

Tiger Reserve

)

People Affected by Conflict

2000

Households Affected by Conflict

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

1000

ha

Starting Year

1978

State

Uttar Pradesh

Sector

Conservation and Forestry

The Dudhwa Tiger Reserve is a protected area in Uttar Pradesh that stretches across the Lakhimpur Kheri and Bahraich districts and comprises the Dudhwa National Park, Kishanpur Wildlife Sanctuary and Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary. The region which spans across 46 villages is largely occupied by the tribal Tharu community. The tribal community depend on forest for their livelihood, including collecting grass from the forests to make and repair their huts every year. However, after the rejection of the community forest rights claims in July 2019 by the Supreme court, in a larger Forest rights case, the locals say that the forest department officials are extorting money from them and stopping them to collect grass or other forest produce. The Uttar Pradesh government declared Dudhwa as a national park in 1978. After the declaration, 44 villages were relocated outside the forest on revenue land. However, with the implementation of Forest Rights Act in 2006, the people started demanding their rights over forest. In 2013, the tribal members filed claims which the Sub Divisional Level Committee (SDLC) recognised and forwarded it to forest department who rejected it. Despite over more than a decade, the villagers still struggle to get recognition of their rights under the Forest Rights Act. Rajnish Gambhir from the All India Union of Forest Working People (AIUFWP) say that when the petitions filed by the tribal community members await the Supreme court hearing, the tharu tribals are continuously harassed and threatened over using forest produce. There have been investigative reports by Journalist Nidheesh J Villatt on the brutal atrocities committed by forest officials on tribal members especially women. The reports highlight that to divide those fighting for their rights, forest officials have allegedly formed vigilante groups Pranthiya Rashak Dal under the garb of protecting forests. He claims that the "Pranthiya Rashak Dal, Dudhwa (PRD) is like the Salwa Judum militia of Chhattisgarh". In 2015, the files of the locals went missing from the administration. The local residents alongside the AIUFWP resubmitted duplicate files to ensure the recognition of their claims in 2016. However, this did not yield any results. There has been constant suppression by the forest officials. There have been several cases which have been registered against the Tharu tribal. In April 2016, 75yearold Bhanduram of Jayanagar village was arrested allegedly on false charges. In August 2020, in another such incident, the Deputy Director of Dudhwa National Park, Manoj Kumar Sonkar allegedly molested and hurled abuses at a Tharu woman who was rearing goats in the forest. Earlier in July, forest officials clashed with tribal members from Kajaria village after forest officials came to the village and allegedly fired shots in the air, molested a few women and beat up youngsters of the community. FIR's have been lodged in both the cases. In February 2021, Allahabad High Court gave an order to seek action into allegations made y Lucknow based petitioner claiming that the locals resort to poaching and sought their relocation.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand for legal recognition of land rights

Other Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Common

Type of Common Land

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

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

Legislations/Policies Involved

Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006
Section 3(1)(a) [This section recognises the right of forest dwellers to hold and live in forest land under either individual or common occupation, to either live on or cultivate]; Section 3(1)(f) [This section grants to forest dwellers, rights over disputed land regardless of the nature of dispute]; Section 4(1) [This section vests all forest rights in Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest dweller]; Section 4(5) [Recognition of, and vesting of, forest rights in forest dwelling Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest dwellers - no member of a forest dwelling Scheduled Tribe or other traditional forest dweller shall be evicted or removed from forest land under his occupation till the recognition and verification procedure is complete]Section 3(1)(a) [This section recognises the right of forest dwellers to hold and live in forest land under either individual or common occupation, to either live on or cultivate]; Section 3(1)(f) [This section grants to forest dwellers, rights over disputed land regardless of the nature of dispute]; Section 4(1) [This section vests all forest rights in Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest dweller]
Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Act, 2006
Section 38V (4) (Subject to the provisions contained in this Act, the State Government shall, while preparing a Tiger Conservation Plan, ensure the agricultural, livelihood, developmental and other interests of the people living in tiger bearing forests or a tiger reserve); Section 38V (5)(i) (Save as for voluntary relocation on mutually agreed terms and conditions, provided that such terms and conditions satisfy the requirements laid down in this sub- section, no Scheduled Tribes or other forest dwellers shall be resettled or have their rights adversely affected for the purpose of creating inviolate areas for tiger conservation unless the process of recognition and determination of rights and acquisition of land or forest rights of the Scheduled Tribes and such other forest dwelling persons is complete); Section 38V(5)(v) (The informed consent of the Gram Sabha concerned, and of the persons affected, to the resettlement programme has been obtained)
Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Rules, 2007
Section 10 [The State Level Monitoring Committee shall – furnish a quarterly report to Central Government on details of claims approved, reasons for rejection, if any and the status of pending claims]; Section 12A(3) [Process of recognition of rights - In the event of rejection of a claim by the Gram Sabha or a recommendation for rejection of a claim forwarded by the Sub-Divisional Level Committee to the District Level Committee, such decision or recommendation on the claim shall be communicated in person to the claimant to enable him to prefer a petition within a period of sixty days]
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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.

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

Lack of legal protection over land rights

Legal Status:

In Court

Status of Case In Court

Pending

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

Supreme Court of India

Case Number

Writ Petition (Civil) No. 109/2008

Main Reasoning/Decision of court

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

Arrest/detention/imprisonment

Killing

Attempted killing

Displacement

Whether criminal law was used against protestors:

Reported Details of the Violation:

On multiple occasions, the tribal members have alleged sexual assault, molestation, torture, fake criminal charges and illegal arrest by the forest department.

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Nature of Protest

Boycott of official procedures/non-participation in official processes

Involvement of national and international NGOs

Strikes

Refusal of compensation

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Environment, Forest and Climate Change 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:

All India Union of Forest Working People (AIUFWP), Tharu Adivasi Mahila Mazdoor Kisan Manch, Tharu Tribes

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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