J&K Forest Department Reportedly Resorts to Violence during Eviction Drive in Ramban

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

Batote

Rakh Jurog

Ramban

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Forest Administration (Other than Protected Areas)

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

Households Affected by Conflict

7

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

1

ha

Starting Year

2020

State

Jammu and Kashmir

Sector

Conservation and Forestry

In August 2020, the Jammu and Kashmir forest department attempted to demolish the houses of seven families belonging to Gujjar and Bakarwal communities in Batote area of Ramban district citing encroachment of forestland. They claimed to have been living in the area since many years and said they did not have anywhere else to go. The families resisted the drive and refused to move out.

A woman named Arooj told LCW that the forest department officials, along with the police, dragged her and her baby out of the house. They also threw away cooked rice and other utensils. “How come we are encroachers? This land was given to us by the government. We are rightful residents of this place,” she said. 

Mohammad Shafi, a panchayat member, agrees. He denies the official stance that people have encroached on forestland. “This is not a forest area. The government simply wants to demolish our homes,” he was reported as saying.

Calling the evictions ‘illegal’, Javaid Rahi, chairperson of the Tribal Research and Cultural Foundation, told LCW that “the forest department should stop these eviction drives until the claims of tribals and other forest dwellers are decided as per the Forest Rights Act”. He added that lakhs of tribal communities depend on forest resources and that the eviction drives can push them towards poverty and loss of livelihood.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand to retain/protect access to common land/resources

Demand for legal recognition of land rights

Complaint against procedural violations

Other Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

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 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 which 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 within seven days of date of notice]; Section 5 [Estate Officer 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
In 2020, the high court directed the forest department to proceed expeditiously and retrieve encroached forestland across the state.
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)
In 2020, the high court directed the forest department to proceed expeditiously and retrieve encroached forestland across the state.
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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:

Forced evictions/dispossession of land

Lack of legal protection over land rights

Scheduled Tribe status or lack of status

Non-implementation/violation of FRA

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:

Other harassment

Whether criminal law was used against protestors:

No

Reported Details of the Violation:

A woman named Arooj told LCW that the forest department officials, along with the police, dragged her and her baby out of the house. They also threw away cooked rice and other utensils.

Date of Violation

August 10, 2020

Location of Violation

Rakh Jurog village

Nature of Protest

Protests/marches

Media-based activism/alternative media

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Forest department

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?

An official in the forest department, who wished anonymity, told LCW that the government is only following the court's direction to retrieve encroached land. "Such evictions will not stop unless we recover all the land," 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:

Gujjars

Resources Related to Conflict

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

Image Credit:  

Image Credit:  

QNS 24x7

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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