Jammu and Kashmir Forest Department demolished huts of Gujjar and Bakkarwal families in Jammu

Reported by

Rabiya Bashir

Legal Data by

Anmol Gupta, Mukta Joshi

Edited by

Radhika Chatterjee

Updated by

Published on

October 25, 2022

October 25, 2022

Updated on

October 25, 2022

Location of Conflict

Lakermandi

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)

ha

Starting Year

2015

State

Jammu and Kashmir

Sector

Conservation and Forestry

In 2017, the Jammu and Kashmir Forest department along with the Police demolished the kullas (thatched huts) belonging to Gujjar and Bakkarwal communities in Lakarmandi area on the outskirts of Jammu city. Members of the community staged a sit-in outside the house of the then Forest Minister to protest the demolitions. The Police resorted to lathi-charge to disperse the protestors and even apprehended seven individuals.

According to the Forest department, the land belonged to the forest department and the land was encroached upon illegally. Members of the Gujjar community told media that they have been living along with their cattle and livestock in the area for the last 70 years and they had not raised any permanent structure.

Another protestor Irfaqat Hussain said, “Where shall we go as forest officials are adamant on evicting them from their present places of living?’’ 

Forest Official who wished anonymity told LCW that the encroachers are being issued notices every month. The encroachment drives are being conducted since 2015. In September 2021, the J&K administration decided to implement Forest Rights Act (FRA) in Kashmir. This will provide a legal framework to protect the rights of traditional forest dwelling communities like those of Gujjars and Bakkarwals.

Speaking to LCW, tribal rights activist , Dr Javed Rahi said that if the FRA were implemented in Kashmir earlier, the union territory would not have witnessed the eviction of dozens of families and the harassment of hundreds of others.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand for rehabilitation

Demand to retain/protect access to common land/resources

Demand for legal recognition of land rights

Other Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Region Classification

Urban and Rural

Type of Land

Common

Type of Common Land

Common

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
The High Court in the case had directed that before any eviction, the relevant authority must identify evictees eligible for relocation and rehabilitation. The state authorities must also ensure that basic civic liberties are ensured at the site of relocation. The Supreme Court confirmed this decision and stated that the directions passed in the High Court judgment must be complied with precisely.
Sudama Singh v. Deepak Mohan Spolia (C.A. No(s). 21806-21807/2017, Supreme Court)
The High Court in the case had directed that before any eviction, the relevant authority must identify evictees eligible for relocation and rehabilitation. The state authorities must also ensure that basic civic liberties are ensured at the site of relocation. The Supreme Court confirmed this decision and stated that the directions passed in the High Court judgment must be complied with precisely.
Report of the Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing, A/HRC/RES/43/14, dated July 6, 2020
The Guidelines state that the government must provide just compensation and sufficient accommodation to evictees immediately. At a minimum, the government must provide access to basic facilities such as food, water, and shelter, among others.
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  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:

Lack of legal protection over land rights

Forced evictions/dispossession of land

Non-rehabilitation of displaced people

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:

Other harassment

Lathicharge/teargas/pellets

Arrest/detention/imprisonment

Whether criminal law was used against protestors:

Yes

Reported Details of the Violation:

According to this report (https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/jammu/nomadic-gujjars-protest-against-demolition-of-huts-in-jammu-4937446/), the police resorted to lathi charge and even apprehended seven of the protestors.

Date of Violation

November 13, 2017

Location of Violation

Jammu

Nature of Protest

Media-based activism/alternative media

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Jammu and Kashmir Forest Department

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?

The Forest Official, who wished anonymity told LCW that the encroachers are being issued notices every month. The encroachment drives are being conducted since 2015.

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:

Gujjar and Bakkarwal families

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

Text LinkLand Conflict Watch
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