Jammu Development Authority Evicts 54 Gujjar, Bakarwal Families in Sidhra

Reported by

Rabiya Bashir

Published on

November 26, 2021

November 26, 2021

Updated on

November 26, 2021

Location of Conflict

Sidhra

Jammu

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Encroachment by Non-Right Holders (Other than Caste-based)

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

1

ha

Starting Year

2017

State

Jammu and Kashmir

Sector

Land Use

In 2017, the Jammu Development Authority (JDA) evicted 54 families belonging to the Gujjar and Bakarwal communities in Sidhra. According to the JDA, the land belonged to the government. Satar Khan, a resident of the area, told the media that the families have been living there for 500 years. First, our homes were razed to the ground by the government in 2017. We rear cattle for a living, and the government has now also taken away our grazing land. Where will we go? We appeal to the government not to harass us and to help us rebuild our homes and lives, Qadeer Khan, another resident, pleaded to the government through the media, hoping that his children can live in a secure environment and receive an education. The government, meanwhile, claims it is merely following the orders of the high court. JDA Director (Land Management) Devinder Singh Katoch told LCW that the encroachers are being issued notices every month. The encroachment drives are being conducted since 2015. We have directions from the high court to remove all illegal settlements in Jammu. He added that a joint operation of departments like revenue, forest, irrigation, municipality and police is required to complete the eviction drive successfully. In September 2021, the J&K administration decided to implement the Forest Rights Act (FRA) in Kashmir, which will now provide a legal framework to protect the rights of traditional forestdwelling communities such as the Gujjars and Bakerwals. Tribal activist Javed Rahi told LCW that if the FRA were implemented in Kashmir earlier and in letter and spirit, we would not have seen the eviction of dozens of families and the harassment of hundreds of others.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand for rehabilitation

Demand for legal recognition of land rights

Refusal to give up land for the project

Demand to retain/protect access to common land/resources

Other Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Common

Type of Common Land

Forest and Non-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

Forest and Scheduled Area Governance Laws, Other, Case Laws

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]
Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989
Section (3)(1)(g) [Wrongful dispossession of a member of a Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe from his land or interference with the enjoyment of his rights over any land will constitute an offence under the Act and is liable for punishment]
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]
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)
After observing that a status report dated October 13, 2020, filed by the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest and HOFF, J&K, giving details of 50 of the largest encroachers of forestland, the high court directed that the respondent authorities had to proceed expeditiously to retrieve the encroached forestland.
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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.

  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:

Forced evictions/dispossession of land

Lack of legal protection over land rights

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

What was the Decision of the Concerned Government Department?

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

Case Number

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

Media-based activism/alternative media

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Jammu Development Authority

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?

JDA Director (Land Management) Devinder Singh Katoch told LCW that the "encroachers" are being issued notices every month. "The encroachment drives are being conducted since 2015. We have directions from the high court to remove all illegal settlements in Jammu." He added that a joint operation of departments like revenue, forest, irrigation, municipality and police is required to complete the eviction drive successfully.

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:

Resources Related to Conflict

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

Image Credit:  

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Documented By

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Reviewed By

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Updated By

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Edited By

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