Nomadic Gujjars and Bakerwals Face Eviction Drives in Jammu

Reported by

Athar Parvaiz

Legal Data by

Edited by

Updated by

Published on

March 19, 2017

March 19, 2017

Updated on

March 19, 2017

Location of Conflict

Rajori, Kathua, Poonch, Samba and Udhampur

Jammu

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Forest Administration (Other than Protected Areas)

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

Households Affected by Conflict

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

13000

ha

Starting Year

2014

State

Jammu and Kashmir

Sector

Conservation and Forestry

The forest department of the erstwhile state, Jammu and Kashmir, under the BJPPDP alliance, initiated an antiencroachment drive in Rajori, Kathua and Poonch districts in Jammu province since 2014, asking GujjarBakerwal families to vacate land under their possession. The GujjarBakerwal's are nomadic grazers who primarily practice migratory livestock rearing. Economically marginalized, they have often been scapegoats for communal politics on account of being Muslim in Jammu a Hindu majority region of the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir. The government, in 2015, alleged that the tribe had encroached upon 13,000ha of forestland, which rightfully belonged to the forest department. In lieu of the order passed by the Forest Minister, several huts of Gujjars in Kalakote area of Rajouri were demolished. The Gujjars decried this, highlighting that they have been living in the forests since 1947. Even as the community were assure that the matter was going to be taken up by the then Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, by 2016, the community received no substantive response and in October, 2016, it was reported that the forest department razed 15 huts in the Sundarbani area of Rajouri. Additionally, in 2017, a madrassa (Islamic educational centers) was bulldozed by the Jammu Development Authority, in Ramban district, leading to protests and violent clashes. Further, on January 14, 2019, the BJP's Jammu and Kashmir unit requested the state's Governor to order an enquiry to identify those who misused the Roshni Act, to acquire hundreds of kanals (one kanal is equal to 0.125 acres) of state land. The Act, which was passed in 2001, enables the transfer of ownership rights of state land to its occupants, subject to a cost as determined by the government. However, the Act was repealed in November 2018, leading to widespread anxiety and despair among the Gujjars, who remarked that it was a severe blow to their hope of being able to purchase land and what seemed to be their last measure of protection against encroachment drives. The tribe had been demanding the implementation of the central The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, in the erstwhile state, which would endow them with individual and community rights over forestland and its resources. On August, 2019, in lieu of the abrogation of article 370, central laws were extended to Jammu and Kashmir. However, as was reported on 20 December, 2020, the nomadic community was yet to benefit from the Forest Rights Act, 2006 as well as the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act. In fact, as per the report, demolition drives were conducted in the previous month itself.

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

Region Classification

Urban and Rural

Type of Land

Both

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?

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Forest and Scheduled Area Governance Laws, Constitutional Law, Other

Legislations/Policies Involved

Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989
Section 3 (1) (v) [Offence of wrongful dispossession a member of Scheduled Tribe from their land or premises]; Section 3 (1) (xv) [Offence of forcing a member of cheduled Tribe to leave their house, village or other place of residence]
Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006
Section 3 [Rights of forest dwelling Schedule Tribes including entitlement over land]
Jammu and Kashmir State Lands (Vesting of Ownership to the Occupants) Act, 2001
Section 5 [Any occupant of state land may apply for transfer of the said land in their name]
Jammu and Kashmir Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act, 1988
Section 4 [Notice should be issued by the estate officer to the person in unauthorised possession to show cause as to why an order of eviction should not be made against them]; Section 5 [Power to evict unauthorised occupants of public land]; Section 6 [Power to remove structures from public land after giving an opportunity to show cause as to why such structure should not be removed] Section 12 [Right to appeal against every order of the Estate Officer]
Constitution of India, 1950
Article 21 [Right to life] Article 14 [Right to Equality] Article 19 (1) (g) [Right to practice any profession]
National Rehabilitation and Resettlement Policy, 2007
Paragraph 4 [Social Impact Assessment to be conducted where more than 200 families in hilly areas are affected] Paragraph 7 [Provides for rehabilitation and resettlement of affected families who have lost their house to the extent of actual loss, covering not more than 250 sq mtrs of space in Rural areas];
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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.

  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

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 FRA

Forced evictions/dispossession of land

Lack of legal protection over land rights

Non-rehabilitation of displaced people

Legal Status:

Out of Court

Status of Case In Court

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

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:

No items found.

Whether criminal law was used against protestors:

Reported Details of the Violation:

Mud houses of Gujjars demolished and force used against them.

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Nature of Protest

Complaints/petitions/letters/memorandums to officials

Development of a network or collective

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

J&K Forest Department, Jammu Development Authority

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:

Resources Related to Conflict

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

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Reviewed By

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