Legal Data by
March 11, 2021
March 11, 2021
March 11, 2021
In December 2020, the Jammu and Kashmir forest department cut down hundreds of apple trees belonging to 30 families in Kanidajan village and its adjoining areas in Budgam district. The department alleges that the trees were grown on forest land encroached by the Gujjars and Bakarwals. The families claim that the land was allotted to them 6070 years ago by the state to grow food. According to them, the officials not only destroyed their apple orchards – the only source of income for many – but also razed their huts to the ground. The Gujjars and Bakarwals are recognised in the region as Scheduled Tribes. Nomads by nature, the communities build temporary huts, called dokas, as they move from place to place in search of fodder for their livestock. The settlement of nomadic communities is often termed as encroachment by the state. The absence of recognition of their land rights leaves nomadic communities vulnerable. Ashraf Katoo, divisional forest officer in Budgam, told LCW that the forest department had cut apple trees on 20 hectares of forestland in Kanidajan on which 30 families were illegally using. "This land belongs to the forest department, and these families are encroachers, so we had to retrieve it." The FRA recognises the right of forestdwelling 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. Earlier in midNovember 2019, the Jammu and Kashmir government had invoked the Indian Forest Act, 1927, and issued eviction notices to Gujjars and other traditional forestdwellers directing them to surrender their land and cut down trees that were planted on government land. A demolition drive was also undertaken in Pahalgam in which several huts belonging to the Gujjars and Bakarwals were razed.
Demand for legal recognition of land rights
Complaint against procedural violations
Demand to retain/protect access to common land/resources
Compensation for the losses caused by the forest department.
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, Other
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
Use of old/outdated laws
Scheduled Tribe status or lack of status
Status of Case In Court
Whether any adjudicatory body was approached
Name of the adjudicatory body
Name(s) of the Court(s)
Supreme Court of India
Writ Petition (Civil) No. 109/2008
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:
Forest department officials razed the temporary shelters of Gujjars, called dokas.
Date of Violation
December 4, 2020
Location of Violation
Nature of Protest
Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:
PSUs Involved in the Conflict:
Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?
Ashraf Katoo, divisional forest officer in Budgam, told LCW that the forest department had chopped apple trees on 20 hectares of forestland which around 30 families were illegally using. "This land belongs to the forest department, and these families are encroachers, so we had to retrieve it."
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: