The district-level committee (DLC) constituted under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act (FRA), 2006, has rejected the forest rights claims of 26 residents of Neempada village and of 25 residents of Nirgundmal village in Dang district in Gujarat, citing insufficient evidence in both the cases.
The Bhil, Konkana (Kunvi) and Varli are the three main tribal groups in Dang. On August 9, 2018, people from 311 villages gathered and rallied up to the district headquarters in Ahwa, protesting against the rejection of their claims and violation of the FRA.
The DLC is currently hearing all individual forest rights claims pending since 2016. It has been rejecting all claims on the ground of 'insufficient evidence' and has been issuing eviction notices to all the claimants, which violates the provisions of the FRA.
Section 4(5) of the Act categorically states that no member of a forest-dwelling scheduled tribe or another traditional forest dweller shall be evicted or removed from forest land under his occupation until the recognition and verification procedure is complete.
The 26 residents of Neempada had filed claims to forest land under the FRA in 2008. After eight years of delay, in 2016, the sub-divisional committee (at the block level) rejected all their claims, followed by the DLC. The village residents claim that officials from the state forest department erected fences around forest land belonging to 10 claimants from Neempada and dug up the land to carry out plantation drives while the claims were still pending. The affected residents submitted an application to the district collector on March 30, 2018, requesting appropriate action but to no avail.
Demand/Contention of the Affected Community
Demand for legal recognition of land rights, Complaint against procedural violations
Government Bodies Involved in the Conflict:
Gujarat Forest Department, Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Gujarat High Court
Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:
Other Parties Involved in the Conflict:
Legislations Involved in the Conflict:
Forest Rights Act of 2006
Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:
Non-implementation violation of the FRA
Name(s) of Court(s)
High Court of Gujarat
WP PIL No. 176/2018
Nature of Protest
Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:
Reported Details of the Violation:
Date of Violation
Location of Violation
Has the Conflict Ended?
When did it end?
Why did the conflict end?