Gujjar Families Clash with Forest Officials during Eviction Drive in Kashmir's Shopian

Reported by

Rabiya Bashir

Legal Data by

Anmol Gupta, Mukta Joshi

Edited by

Moushumi Sharma

Updated by

Published on

March 13, 2022

March 13, 2022

Updated on

March 13, 2022

Location of Conflict

Keller block in Shopian

Shopian

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Forest Administration (Other than Protected Areas)

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

58

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

1

ha

Starting Year

2021

State

Jammu and Kashmir

Sector

Conservation and Forestry

On May 24, 2021, an eviction drive in Shopian’s Zampathri village turned violent as Gujjar and Bakarwal families resisted and clashed with officials while protesting against an anti-encroachment drive. The forest department reportedly demolished temporary shelters of 12 Gujjar families on 1.5 acres of forestland. At least 23 people were injured, including five journalists.

A video of a brutally beaten-up Gujjar man went viral on social media after the violence. The Gujjar families informed reporters that they were not permanent residents of the area but had been erecting temporary sheds for shelter and grazing their cattle. “They are evicting us without serving any notice. We insisted that we leave the area every year and there is no need to evict us, but the forest officials did not listen,” one of the Gujjars told the media. They alleged that the officials reportedly beat up whoever tried to intervene and injured three persons, including two women.

Forest officials, on the other hand, claimed that once the eviction drive started, the Gujjar community assembled and took the officials as well as journalists hostage in a fenced area.

District Forest Officer Mohammad Ayoub told LCW that they had no choice but to evict people occupying forestland. "We have to protect the forest areas, and the government is taking strict measures in this regard. During the eviction drive, people from the Gujjar community attacked forest department officials and journalists. If they had any proof of land ownership, we would not have evicted them, but they failed to furnish evidence.”

Some of the evicted families are staying with relatives temporarily while others have moved away as part of their seasonal migration.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand for legal recognition of land rights

Demand to retain/protect access to common land/resources

Other Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand for implementation of the Forest Rights Act, 2006

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Common

Type of Common Land

Forest

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

Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989
Section (3)(1)(g) [Wrongful dispossession of a member of a Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe from his land or interference with the enjoyment of his rights over any land will constitute an offence under the Act and is liable for punishment]
Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006
Section 2(a) [Community Forest Resource defined to be customary forestland to which community had traditional access]; Section 3 [Forest rights of forest-dwelling tribes to include right of ownership, access to collect and use minor forest produce that has been traditionally collected within village boundaries. Such rights also include right to in situ rehabilitation, including alternative land, if traditional forest-dwelling tribes have been illegally evicted or displaced from forestland]; Section 4(5) [Forest-dwelling tribes may not be evicted from occupied forestland before registration and verification process is complete]
SAVE (through its Chairperson) v. State of Jammu and Kashmir and Ors. (PIL No. 25/2017- IA(2/2017) CM(1456/2020), Order dated 28.10.2020, High Court of J&K)
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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.

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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:

Lack of legal protection over land rights

Forced evictions/dispossession of land

Scheduled Tribe status or lack of status

Non-implementation/violation of FRA

Non-rehabilitation of displaced people

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:

Physical attack

Displacement

Whether criminal law was used against protestors:

No

Reported Details of the Violation:

A video of a brutally beaten-up Gujjar man went viral on social media following a clash between Gujjar families and the forest department during an eviction drive. Forest officials reportedly beat up whoever tried to intervene and injured three persons, including two women. Forest department officials claim that the Gujjars also attacked them and journalists.

Date of Violation

May 23, 2021

Location of Violation

Zampathri village, Shopian

Nature of Protest

Protests/marches

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Forest department

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?

District Forest Officer Mohammad Ayoub told LCW that they had no choice but to evict people occupying forestland. "We have to protect the forest areas, and the government is taking strict measures in this regard. During the eviction drive, people from the Gujjar community attacked forest department officials and journalists. If they had any proof of land ownership, we would not have evicted them."

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:

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

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Reviewed By

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Updated By

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Edited By

Text LinkLand Conflict Watch
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