Legal Data by
August 30, 2021
August 30, 2021
August 30, 2021
In November 2020, the Jammu and Kashmir government demolished at least 70 shelters of Gujjar and Bakerwal families in the remote areas of Pahalgam – Aru, Mamal and Lidroo. According to the Pahalgam Development Authority (PDA), 51.5 hectares of forestland (1,020 kanals) were encroached by these nomadic tribes as they built temporary huts – called dokas – on land owned by the forest department.
“We had to follow the orders of the high court to retrieve 2,600 kanals of encroached land across Anantnag, which belongs to the forest department. “We cannot allow encroachment of forestland,” PDA CEO Mushtaq Simnani told LCW.
The PDA had also reportedly issued notices to the families, warning them of forced demolition if they failed to raze their structures themselves and asking them to vacate the land. According to the local people, the authorities in the Lidroo-Wangidar area demolished more than 13 dokas. “Where will we go during the harsh winter? Why will we leave this place when it is our own? We have been living here since ages,” Ahmad told journalists.
Gujjar activist Talib Hussain told LCW, “It is a misnomer to call it encroachment in the first place. The tribal communities are forest people, and these temporary sheds have been their homes for decades. They are not a threat to the forests or the ecology because their traditional lifestyle and culture are in harmony with nature. Their presence, in fact, ensures protection of the forests.”
Javed Rahi, prominent tribal activist in the region, also told LCW that the forests have always been the home of nomadic communities and that the Gujjars and Bakerwals depend on these forests for their livelihood and survival.
The Gujjars and Bakerwals are recognised in the region as Scheduled Tribes, or forest dwellers, under the Forest Rights Act (FRA), 2006. Nomads by nature, the communities move from place to place in search of fodder for their livestock. Their settlement on common land is often termed encroachment by the state as they have no legal titles over what the state considers government land.
The absence of permanent land to settle in and the lack of legal titles as well as laws to safeguard their interests has left these nomadic communities vulnerable. The FRA recognises the right of forest-dwelling communities to live on forestland and cultivate the same and mandates that no forest dweller can be evicted if their claim for rights is pending. But the Act is yet to be implemented in Jammu and Kashmir.
Complaint against procedural violations
Demand for legal recognition of land rights
Demand to retain/protect access to common land/resources
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
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:
Forced evictions/dispossession of land
Non-implementation/violation of FRA
Lack of legal protection over land rights
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)
Main Reasoning/Decision of court
Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:
Whether criminal law was used against protestors:
Reported Details of the Violation:
More than 70 homes of Gujjars and Bakerwals were destroyed during an eviction drive. The authorities reportedly threatened them to demolish their homes and vacate the land.
Date of Violation
November 4, 2020
Location of Violation
Mamal, Aru, Lidroo in Pahalgam
Nature of Protest
Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:
Forest department, Pahalgam Development Authority
PSUs Involved in the Conflict:
Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?
CEO of Pahalgam Development Authority Mushtaq Simnani told LCW: “We had to follow the orders of the high court to retrieve 2,600 kanals of encroached land across Anantnag, which belongs to the forest department. "We cannot allow encroachment of forestland," he added.
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: