Farmers in Karnataka's Bandigudda Demand Regularisation of Bagair Hukum Land

Reported by

Deepak C N

Legal Data by

Edited by

Updated by

Published on

September 15, 2016

September 15, 2016

Updated on

September 15, 2016

Location of Conflict

Bandigudda, Belligere

Shivamogga

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Non-Commercial Agriculture

Demand for Bagair Hukum land to be regularised

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

336

Households Affected by Conflict

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

40

ha

Starting Year

1972

State

Karnataka

Sector

Land Use

The farmers of Belligere, Bandigudda and other areas in Bhadravathi tehsil in Shimoga district continue to wage a battle to regularise their rights over Bagair Hukum (without permission) lands. The farmers primarily cultivate in a forested area, where the Bandigudda limestone mine is loacted. This mine is controlled by the Visvesvaraya Iron and Steel Plant (VISL) and was set up in 1923. In the 1940s, landless families from central Karnataka, along with migrants from neighbouring Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra migrated to Shimoga, prompted by the availability of lands and employment opportunities with VISL. To supplement their meagre income from working at the mines, several workers started farming, growing millets and other crops, and grazing cattle. Meanwhile, the erstwhile princely state of Mysore handed over the ownership of these lands to the British. What used to be multipurpose land came under the bureaucratic institution of forest and revenue departments and led to a dispute over the ownership of the land between the forest department and farmers. The conflict continues till this date. The forest department has labelled the local farmers 'encroachers', with the latter denying this and claiming that they have cultivated these lands for centuries. In 2012, the forest department used bulldozers to clear up the cultivated farmlands to make space for a [prospective plantation](http://The farmers) drive owned by a foreign company. The attempt was met with fierce protest, with a group of [25 women](http://The farmers) from the villages stopping the bulldozers. The police arrested 87 people, most of whom spent 16 days in jail. Clashes like this have been frequent since 1972. The farmers have, therefore, demanded for the lands to be regularised. In 2014, the Karnataka Legislative Assembly adopted the Karnataka Land Revenue (Amendment) Bill, 2014, seeking to extend the deadline for disposing of the applications relating to regularisation of the Bagair Hukum lands by two years. In 2014, there were four lakh applications from farmers that were yet to be cleared by Bagair Hukum committees. In 2016, then Revenue Minister Kagodu Thimmappa stated that the Union government had identified 13 documents for the regularisation of the lands and even if a farmer lacked any of the documents, a proof of residency for 60 years in their respective village would suffice. Additonally, he emphasised that the cultivators could not be evicted until their applications were disposed of. Later, in the same year, speaking to the media, Maruti Manpade, state president of the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS), a network of farmerrelated movements spread throughout the state, highlighted how more than 12 lakh applications submitted by farmers to the Land Grant Committees for regularisation of revenue land they were cultivating had been rejected. About seven lakh applications were pending. Some villagers have filed claims under the Forest Rights Act. Where applications have been approved, the rehabilitation process is incomplete. In 2018, the Karnataka government introduced Form 57 for the regularisation of Bagair Hukum land. Farmers could file their applications from October 1, 2018, to March 16, 2019. But many farmers reportedly found it difficult to register their land this way. On May 28, 2019, LCW spoke to a local associate of the KRRS, who said the problem lies mostly with the forest department. When asked if the farmers were aware of the online process introduced by the government to regularise land, the associate said most were not. 

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

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 and Non-Forest, Non-Forest (Grazing Land)

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, Other

Legislations/Policies Involved

Karnataka Land Revenue Act, 1964
Section 95 [Procedure for use of agricultural land for other purposes]; Section 94A and 94B [Regularisation of land of persons who have been occupying the land without authority prior to a certain date and are eligible for the grant under the Act]
Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006
Section 6 [Authorities to vest forest rights in forest-dwelling Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest dwellers]
Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980
Section 2 [Without the prior approval of the Union government, the state government shall not direct any forest land or any portion thereof to be be used for any non-forest purposes]
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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:

Non-implementation/violation of FRA

Lack of legal protection over land rights

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:

Arrest/detention/imprisonment

Other harassment

Whether criminal law was used against protestors:

Yes

Reported Details of the Violation:

Residents were subjected to police harassment owing to false cases that were filed against them. In 1972, the forest department allowed the Nilgiri Plantation Group to take over large tracts of agricultural lands to plant trees. The villagers protested, and 15 members were jailed.

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Nature of Protest

Protests/marches

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Forest 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:

Visvesvaraya Iron and Steel Plant

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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Reviewed By

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Updated By

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Edited By

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