Malaya tribal families demand for forest rights over Surplus land in Kadappara

Reported by

Dr. K.H. Amitha Bachan

Legal Data by

Edited by

Updated by

Published on

September 11, 2016

September 11, 2016

Updated on

September 11, 2016

Location of Conflict

Kadappara

Palakkad

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Forest Administration (Other than Protected Areas)

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

91

Households Affected by Conflict

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

6

ha

Starting Year

2008

State

Kerala

Sector

Conservation and Forestry

Since 2008, tribal community living within the forests near to Mangalam dam in Palakkad district have been demanding forest rights under Forest Rights Act of 2006.
In 2016, the members of Malaya tribal community at Palakkad initiated land struggle to demand for forest rights. Over 75 members belonging to 19 families lived on a rock filled land in Kadappara tribal colony in Palakkad. The families sought ownership over 22 acres of forestland under Forest Rights Act of 2006. Though the land is classified as forest, the occupied area was surplus land taken back by the government from a local landlord. The land has no character of a forest and its boundaries are agricultural lands occupied by settlers from Kottayam and Ernakulam districts, as claimed by a tribal community member. They demand forest rights as it will give them right over minor forest produce, besides, ensuring them a right to stay on the land. In September 2016, after about six months of struggle, the State government agreed to allocate them 14.67 acres of reserve forestland which they occupied. The state government informed of the equal division of the land among the families. A subdivisional committee comprising representatives of Forest, Revenue and SC/ST departments apart from peoples representatives was created to to finalise the official process in this regard. The district collector of Palakkad  ordered for equal distribution of the land among the agitating families. But the forest and revenue departments created legal hurdles in the implementation. The tribal people claim that although the procedures to hand documents were initiated, the forest departments claimed their ineligibility over the land. In December 2016, a group of tribal members went to meet Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to hand over a written petition seeking redress of land issues faced by them when they were blocked and harassed by the police in Palakkad. They alleged that the police stripped them and detained them on false charges of having relations with Maoists. Other tribal communities from Attappadi are similarly struggling to claim forest rights. It was reported that around 4382 claims have been filed of which 1831 were rejected, according to K.A. Ramu from the Attappadi tribals welfare. Meanwhile, in August 2017, the Scheduled Tribe Welfare minister of Kerala informed the Kerala Assembly that a high power committee will be formed to determine scheduled tribe areas and the land rights of the people living in the areas. However, the efforts to find out the workings of this committee never materialized. Since 2017, many people from the area have taken up arms and joined the CPI (Maoists). The state has posted personnel to counter the alleged threat. The people, who are still struggling for their basic rights aren't clear as to who is fighting for them. As one local villager said in a report dated November 2019, "We don't know whom to fear more the Maoists or the police. They both have guns and say they are fighting for us."

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand for legal recognition of land rights

Demand for better access to common land/resources

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?

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Forest and Scheduled Area Governance Laws

Legislations/Policies Involved

Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006
Section 3: Rights over the forest land (rights to hold and live, community rights, access to forest produce); Section 4: Vests these forest rights in Scheduled Tribes and traditional forest dwellers; Section 6: Mentions that the Gram Sabha is the authority who can determine to initiate the process of vesting these rights
Kerala Forest Act, 1961
Section 30: Power to make rules on land not marked as reserved forest
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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:

Non-rehabilitation of displaced people

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

Arrest/detention/imprisonment

Whether criminal law was used against protestors:

Reported Details of the Violation:

In December 2016, a group of tribal members went to meet Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to hand over a written petition seeking redress of land issues faced by them were reportedly blocked and harassed by the police in Palakkad.

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Nature of Protest

Protests/marches

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Forest Department, Revenue Department, Scheduled Tribes Department.

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?

Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

NA

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

Communities/Local Organisations in the Conflict:

Kadappara Tribal Gram Sabha

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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