FRA Body Rejects Forest Rights Claims of Residents in Gujarat's Dangs District

Reported by

Aditi PatilLand Conflict Watch

Last updated on

July 5, 2021

Location of Conflict

Neempada

Dang

This is A Schedule Five District

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Forest Administration (Other than Protected Areas)

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

26

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

104

ha

Starting Year

2011

State

Gujarat

Sector

Conservation and Forestry

The districtlevel committee (DLC) constituted under the 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 communities living 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 forestdwelling Scheduled Tribe or another traditional forest dweller shall be evicted or removed from forestland under his occupation until the recognition and verification procedure is complete. The 26 residents of Neempada had filed claims to forestland under the FRA in 2008. After eight years of delay, in 2016, the subdivisional 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 the forestland 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. Digging of lands continued. On February 13, 2019, the Supreme Court ordered that all households whose rights claims under the FRA have been rejected should be evicted from forests by July 2019. After widespread criticism and protests it temporarily stayed its own order on February 28, 2019. Twentyone states, including Gujarat, were ordered to explain to the Supreme Court how the FRA claims were accepted or rejected. While the eviction was put on hold, the state governments conceded that the FRA implementation is deeply flawed and pleaded for more time to review the claims, which run into lakhs. 

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand for legal recognition of land rights, Complaint against procedural violations, Demand to retain/protect access to common land/resources

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Common

Type of Common Land

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

Total investment involved (in Crores):

Type of investment:

Year of Estimation

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, Central/State Government Policy

Legislations/Policies Involved

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 the FRA, Forced evictions/ Dispossession of Land

Legal Status:

In Court

Status of Case In Court

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

High Court of Gujarat

Case Number

WP PIL No. 176/2018

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

Whether criminal law was used against protestors

Official name of the criminal law. Did the case reach trial?

Reported Details of the Violation:

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Nature of Protest

Complaints, petitions, memorandums to officials

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Forest Department, Ministry of Tribal Affairs

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?

Name, Designation and Comment of Corporate Authorities Approached

Other Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Action Research in Community Health and Development

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:
No Images Available

Documented By

Aditi Patil

Reviewed By

Aditi Patil

Updated By

Aditi Patil

Edited By

Aditi PatilLand Conflict Watch
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