Farmers in Madhya Pradesh Allege Violation of FRA as Police Damage Crops

Reported by

Aditi PatilLand Conflict Watch

Last updated on

April 29, 2021

Location of Conflict

Siwal

,

Burhanpur

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Plantations

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

150

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

150

ha

State

Madhya Pradesh

Sector

Conservation and Forestry

On May 1, 2019, the Madhya Pradesh government began the process of reexamining the cases of several forest dwellers whose claims over forestland had been rejected. The state notified all district collectors not to carry out any evictions till the cases had been reviewed. Despite this, on July 9, around 50 forest department officials and police arrived in Siwal village in Nepanagar block of Burhanpur district with excavators and began razing down farms in the name of carrying out a plantation drive. The forest officials tried to run JCBs (excavators) over farms in which farmers had just sown seeds. When the farmers protested, the police fired pellets at them. Four farmers were injured and one had to be taken to a hospital in Indore. The police claim that three forest officials were also injured when the villagers pelted stones at them. According to a junior police official at Nepanagar police station, the villagers attacked first. On July 14, tribals of Burhanpur gathered at the Burhanpur District Collector's office to protest against the forest department's illegal firing and its constant violations of the Forest Rights Act (FRA) and government orders. The Nepanagar Police registered two First Information Reports (FIRs) in the case. In the first FIR, three unidentified forest officials were booked for rash and negligent actions that cause hurt and endanger human life. In the second FIR, 150 unidentified tribespeople were charged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code dealing with unlawful assembly, rioting and obstruction of duty by public servants. Following the FIR, villagers from Nepanagar staged a sitin outside the local police station. They alleged that the FIRs were wrongly filed and called for all false cases against the tribal farmers of Siwal to be dropped. They also demanded that the rights accorded to the Village Assembly (gram sabha) under the Panchayat (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996, and the FRA should be protected from violations by government officials. Additionally, in accordance with the state government's order of May 1, 2019, and Section 4(5) of the FRA, no claimant of forest rights should be evicted or acted against until the legal processing and verification of their claims are completed. Then Chief Minister Kamal Nath ordered an investigation into the incident after several political leaders demanded action against those responsible. The matter has been reported to the local Nepanagar police station. Many villagers filed for FRA claims again in January 2020.

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Common

Private and Common

Type of Common Land

Forest

Total investment involved (in Crores):

Type of investment:

Land Area Affected
(in Hectares):

150

ha

Starting Year

2019

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand for legal recognition of land rights, Complaint against procedural violations

Government Bodies Involved in the Conflict:

Forest Department

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Other Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sangathan

Has the Conflict Ended?

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Resources Related to Conflict

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