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Forest officials and farmers clash over land in Tumkur district, Karnataka

Reported by

Nayantara Lakshman

Legal Review by

Priyansha Chouhan, Anmol Gupta

Edited by

Radhika Chatterjee

Updated by

Published on

August 1, 2023

August 3, 2023

Edited on

August 1, 2023

State

Karnataka

Sector

Conservation and Forestry

People Affected by Conflict

Households Affected by Conflict

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

700

ha

Starting Year

Location of Conflict

Gangaiahanapalya

Tumkur

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Forest Administration (Other than Protected Areas)

Illegal transfer of Gomala (grazing land) from the Revenue Department to the Forest Department

Land Conflict Summary

In 2015, the Karnataka government had launched a drive to reclaim government land that has been "encroached" upon. This affected over 300,000 marginal and landless cultivators known as Bagair Hukum cultivators. These cultivators lack formal and documented ownership rights to the small plots of government land they till.

They have for long demanded from the state legal title to the lands they cultivate. Their concerns however were not addressed. The state has instead through its policy of reclaiming government land started evicting them by treating them as 'encroachers'.

In March 2023, the Bagair Hukum cultivators of Gangaiahanapalya village in Chelur Hobli of Tumkur district launched a Jail Bharo campaign to reclaim their lands from which they had been evicted by officials of the State Forest Department. They were supported in this protest by the Karntaka Prantha Raitha Sangha, a civil society organisation affiliated to the All India Kisan Sabha.

The farmers claim they had been cultivating the land for the nearly 70 years. But eight years back they were displaced from their lands by the State Forest Department.

Officials of the Forest Department assert that it is the farmers who allegedly encroached on land that belonged to them.

According to the farmers, the situation escalated in March 2023 when forest officials breached an agreement and attacked the farmers while attempting to reclaim the land. The clash resulted in injuries to both farmers and forest officials.

A criminal case was registered against eight farmers under various sections of the Indian Penal Code.

The farmers also filed a complaint against the forest department, and a case was registered against them under charges of causing hurt using instruments.

The dispute centres around 700 hectares of land that affects farmers from 10-35 villages.

Fact Sheet

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Complaint against procedural violations

Demand for legal recognition of land rights

Demand to retain/protect access to common land/resources

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)

What was the action taken by the police?

How many people did the police detain or arrest?

What is the current status of the detained/accused persons?

Did the person face any violence while in police custody?

Did the person face any violence while in police custody?

If any arrests took place, were the accused persons produced before a judge within 24 hours of the arrest?

If the accused was not produced before a magistrate within 24 hours, or not produced at all, what were the reasons?

Legislation under which the accused was charged

Indian Penal Code, 1860

Section 143 (unlawful assembly),147(guilty of rioting), 148 (rioting with a deadly weapon), 332 (voluntarily causes hurt), 352 (assault, using criminal force), 504 (intentional insult and provocation) and 506(threatening with life)

Was the accused person informed of their right to legal representation? Did the accused person have access to legal aid?

In cases where the accused person approached the court for bail, was bail granted?

Why was bail granted or rejected? If granted, what were the bail conditions and quantum of bail?

Were there any other notable irregularities that took place, or other significant details?

Details of sources (names of accused, names and numbers of any lawyers, names of any police officers contacted)

Status of Project

Original Project Deadline

Whether the Project has been Delayed

Significance of Land to Land Owners/Users

Agricultural land

Whether the project was stalled due to land conflict

Source/Reference

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?

Legal Data

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Legislations/Policies Involved

Karnataka Land Revenue Act, 1964
Section 94A [State government to constitute committee for considering regularisation of certain cases of unauthorised occupation. Tehsildar shall be secretary of such committee] Section 94B [Deputy Commissioner to hold enquiry to grant land to persons seeking regularisation of unauthorised occupation of government land from before 1990] Section 104 [Tahsildar may summarily evict any person occupying government land illegally]
Karnataka Forest Act, 1963
Section 64A [This section prescribes the procedure to summarily evict any person unauthorizedly occupying any reserved forest land by the designated forest officer in such manner as may be prescribed.]
  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  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 community of farmers have been applying for regularization of their lands before the concerned government authority since 1990's.

What was the Decision of the Concerned Government Department?

The government has not yet taken any decision on the claims and applications.

Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:

Lack of legal protection over land rights

Non-consultation with stakeholders

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:

Lathicharge/teargas/pellets

Arrest/detention/imprisonment

Whether criminal law was used against protestors:

Yes

Reported Details of the Violation:

On March 30, 2023, despite the promised assurance, a group of more than a hundred individuals, claiming to be forest department officials but including individuals with criminal backgrounds, violated the agreement and forcefully entered the lands. They proceeded to dig trenches and create rows of furrows for tree planting using heavy machinery. The farmers raised questions about these actions, but instead of receiving answers, they were subjected to brutal attacks with lathis (sticks). This violent incident resulted in over thirty farmers sustaining severe injuries, with the president of Gubbi taluk KPRS, Dodda Nanjaiah, requiring 31 stitches for a head wound. Additionally, District Secretary C Ajappa was also struck with a stick. Regrettably, both women and men from Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes were among those who endured beatings with lathis.

Date of Violation

March 12, 2023

Location of Violation

Gangaiahanapalya, Gubbi Town, Tumkur District

Additional Information

Nature of Protest

Protests/marches

Land occupation

Development of a network or collective

Objections as part of official procedures

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Forest Department and Revenue 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:

Bagair Hukum farmers of Gangaiahanapalya in Chelur Hobli, Tumkur district

Information on the use of criminal law

What was the action taken by the police?

How many people did the police detain or arrest?

What is the current status of the detained/accused persons?

Did the person face any violence while in police custody?

If any arrests took place, were the accused persons produced before a judge within 24 hours of the arrest?

If the accused was not produced before a magistrate within 24 hours, or not produced at all, what were the reasons?

Legislation under which the accused was charged

Indian Penal Code, 1860

Section 143 (unlawful assembly),147(guilty of rioting), 148 (rioting with a deadly weapon), 332 (voluntarily causes hurt), 352 (assault, using criminal force), 504 (intentional insult and provocation) and 506(threatening with life)

Was the accused person informed of their right to legal representation? Did the accused person have access to legal aid?

In cases where the accused person approached the court for bail, was bail granted?

Why was bail granted or rejected? If granted, what were the bail conditions and quantum of bail?

Were there any other notable irregularities that took place, or other significant details?

Resources

Resources Related to Conflict

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

Images

Image Credit:  

Image Credit:  

Video

In 2015, the Karnataka government had launched a drive to reclaim government land that has been "encroached" upon. This affected over 300,000 marginal and landless cultivators known as Bagair Hukum cultivators. These cultivators lack formal and documented ownership rights to the small plots of government land they till.

They have for long demanded from the state legal title to the lands they cultivate. Their concerns however were not addressed. The state has instead through its policy of reclaiming government land started evicting them by treating them as 'encroachers'.

In March 2023, the Bagair Hukum cultivators of Gangaiahanapalya village in Chelur Hobli of Tumkur district launched a Jail Bharo campaign to reclaim their lands from which they had been evicted by officials of the State Forest Department. They were supported in this protest by the Karntaka Prantha Raitha Sangha, a civil society organisation affiliated to the All India Kisan Sabha.

The farmers claim they had been cultivating the land for the nearly 70 years. But eight years back they were displaced from their lands by the State Forest Department.

Officials of the Forest Department assert that it is the farmers who allegedly encroached on land that belonged to them.

According to the farmers, the situation escalated in March 2023 when forest officials breached an agreement and attacked the farmers while attempting to reclaim the land. The clash resulted in injuries to both farmers and forest officials.

A criminal case was registered against eight farmers under various sections of the Indian Penal Code.

The farmers also filed a complaint against the forest department, and a case was registered against them under charges of causing hurt using instruments.

The dispute centres around 700 hectares of land that affects farmers from 10-35 villages.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Complaint against procedural violations

Demand for legal recognition of land rights

Demand to retain/protect access to common land/resources

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?

No

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Legislations/Policies Involved

Karnataka Land Revenue Act, 1964
Section 94A [State government to constitute committee for considering regularisation of certain cases of unauthorised occupation. Tehsildar shall be secretary of such committee] Section 94B [Deputy Commissioner to hold enquiry to grant land to persons seeking regularisation of unauthorised occupation of government land from before 1990] Section 104 [Tahsildar may summarily evict any person occupying government land illegally]
Karnataka Forest Act, 1963
Section 64A [This section prescribes the procedure to summarily evict any person unauthorizedly occupying any reserved forest land by the designated forest officer in such manner as may be prescribed.]
  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  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 community of farmers have been applying for regularization of their lands before the concerned government authority since 1990's.

What was the Decision of the Concerned Government Department?

The government has not yet taken any decision on the claims and applications.

Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:

Lack of legal protection over land rights

Non-consultation with stakeholders

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:

Lathicharge/teargas/pellets

Arrest/detention/imprisonment

Whether criminal law was used against protestors:

Yes

Reported Details of the Violation:

On March 30, 2023, despite the promised assurance, a group of more than a hundred individuals, claiming to be forest department officials but including individuals with criminal backgrounds, violated the agreement and forcefully entered the lands. They proceeded to dig trenches and create rows of furrows for tree planting using heavy machinery. The farmers raised questions about these actions, but instead of receiving answers, they were subjected to brutal attacks with lathis (sticks). This violent incident resulted in over thirty farmers sustaining severe injuries, with the president of Gubbi taluk KPRS, Dodda Nanjaiah, requiring 31 stitches for a head wound. Additionally, District Secretary C Ajappa was also struck with a stick. Regrettably, both women and men from Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes were among those who endured beatings with lathis.

Date of Violation

March 12, 2023

Location of Violation

Gangaiahanapalya, Gubbi Town, Tumkur District

Nature of Protest

Protests/marches

Land occupation

Development of a network or collective

Objections as part of official procedures

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Forest Department and Revenue 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:

Bagair Hukum farmers of Gangaiahanapalya in Chelur Hobli, Tumkur district

Resources Related to Conflict

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

Image Credit:  

Image Credit:  

Documented By

Text Link

Reviewed By

Text Link

Updated By

Text Link

Edited By

Text LinkLand Conflict Watch

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