J&K Forest Department Evicts 60 Gujjar Families from Grazing Land in Patnitop

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

Patnitop

Udhampur

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Forest Administration (Other than Protected Areas)

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

1

ha

Starting Year

2015

State

Jammu and Kashmir

Sector

Conservation and Forestry

In June 2015, a joint team of the forest department and Patnitop Development Authority (PDA) attempted to evict 60 Gujjar families from the Patnitop pastures in Udhampur district of Jammu by removing their tents. The families had been using the pastures to graze their cattle during summer. Tension prevailed as the Gujjars resisted by protesting but they had to eventually leave the area.

The Gujjars claimed that they only visited the pastures in summer and left in winter and had no intention of encroaching the land. “How does the question of encroachment of forestland arise when we come here only during summer months?” Gulab Din, a Gujjar, told the media.

A forest department official, who wished anonymity, told LCW that the land in question was transferred to the PDA in 2015 and, therefore, the Gujjar families were evicted. "We have released a list of names who have encroached government land. We will retrieve all of it," he said.

Javaid Rahi, a tribal activist, stated that the eviction was unjustified. “These families used to live in the pastures only temporarily during summers. They are nomads, and they use the land for grazing their cattle. It’s their main livelihood, and they have the right to graze their animals, including on the Patnitop pastures,” he told LCW.

Zahid Aslam Mughal, former divisional forest officer of Batote, informed the media that the forest department was ready to provide the Gujjar families an alternative site at Sanasar as the state had already transferred the land in question to the PDA.

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

Alternate land for grazing

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Common

Type of Common Land

Non-Forest (Grazing Land)

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 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 has 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]
Jammu and Kashmir Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act, 1988
Section 4 [Estate Officer to call upon person suspected of encroaching by a notice in writing to produce documentary evidence within seven days of date of notice] Section 5 [Estate Officer is required to make an order of eviction with recorded reasons if the public premises are to be vacated] Section 12 [Affected parties may appeal the order of Estate Officer under Section 5 to the District Magistrate of the district in which the public premises are situated within 12 days of publication of the order]
Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989
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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

Non-implementation/violation of FRA

Scheduled Tribe status or lack of status

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:

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Nature of Protest

Protests/marches

Media-based activism/alternative media

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Patnitop Development Authority

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?

A forest department official, who wished anonymity, told LCW that the land in question was transferred to the PDA and, therefore, the Gujjar families were evicted. "We have released a list of names who have encroached government land. We will retrieve all of it," he said.

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:

Gujjars, Tribal Research and Cultural Foundation

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

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