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Odisha Forest Department Demolishes Houses of 32 Families during Covid-19 Pandemic

Reported by

Nihar Gokhale

Legal Data by

Edited by

Updated by

Published on

August 21, 2020

May 20, 2022

Edited on

August 21, 2020

State

Odisha

Sector

Conservation and Forestry

People Affected by Conflict

154

Households Affected by Conflict

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

ha

Starting Year

2020

Location of Conflict

Sagada

Kalahandi

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Forest Administration (Other than Protected Areas)

Land Conflict Summary

On April 24, 2020, the Odisha forest department demolished the homes of 32 forestdwelling families in Sagada village on the grounds that they were encroaching on reserved forest land. They did not get any notice prior to the demolition. The operation was led by the divisional forest officer of South Kalahandi and subcollector of Bhawanipatna. As the demolition drive was in progress, local advocate Siddharth Naik reached the spot and tried to intervene. But he was sent away by the forest department. The government defended the demolition and consequent eviction by saying that the forest dwellers were encroachers and belonged to another village 15 kilometres away. Prafulla Samantara, a forest rights activist from the state, told LCW that the homes of the affected families were in a remote village and were destroyed in the rains, so they had migrated to Sagada six months earlier. They settled close to the panchayat office as it was convenient for them to get wage labour work, ration and Covid19 relief supplies. However, they were evicted as they had allegedly built their houses on reserved forest land. The forest department says it has shifted the evicted families to their original village and also gave each family three months worth of supplies under the public distribution system, along with Covid19 cash incentive of INR 1,000. Samantara has written to the state chief secretary demanding suspension of the officials who ordered the eviction as well as better compensation to the displaced people.

Fact Sheet

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand for legal recognition of land rights

Other Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Common

Type of Common Land

Forest

What was the action taken by the police?

How many people did the police detain or arrest?

What is the current status of the detained/accused persons?

Did the person face any violence while in police custody?

Did the person face any violence while in police custody?

If any arrests took place, were the accused persons produced before a judge within 24 hours of the arrest?

If the accused was not produced before a magistrate within 24 hours, or not produced at all, what were the reasons?

Legislation under which the accused was charged

Was the accused person informed of their right to legal representation? Did the accused person have access to legal aid?

In cases where the accused person approached the court for bail, was bail granted?

Why was bail granted or rejected? If granted, what were the bail conditions and quantum of bail?

Were there any other notable irregularities that took place, or other significant details?

Details of sources (names of accused, names and numbers of any lawyers, names of any police officers contacted)

Status of Project

Original Project Deadline

Whether the Project has been Delayed

Significance of Land to Land Owners/Users

Whether the project was stalled due to land conflict

Source/Reference

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?

Legal Data

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Forest and Scheduled Area Governance Laws

Legislations/Policies Involved

Indian Forest Act, 1927
Section 26
Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980
Section 2
Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996
Section 4
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  3. 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.

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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:

Non-implmentation/violation of PESA

Lack of legal protection over land rights

Forced evictions/dispossession of land

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:

Displacement

Whether criminal law was used against protestors:

Reported Details of the Violation:

Thirty-two families were evicted from their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic

Date of Violation

April 24, 2020

Location of Violation

Sagada, Kalahandi

Additional Information

Nature of Protest

Complaints/petitions/letters/memorandums to officials

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Forest and Environment 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:

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

Communities/Local Organisations in the Conflict:

Information on the use of criminal law

What was the action taken by the police?

How many people did the police detain or arrest?

What is the current status of the detained/accused persons?

Did the person face any violence while in police custody?

Did the person face any violence while in police custody?

If any arrests took place, were the accused persons produced before a judge within 24 hours of the arrest?

If the accused was not produced before a magistrate within 24 hours, or not produced at all, what were the reasons?

Legislation under which the accused was charged

Was the accused person informed of their right to legal representation? Did the accused person have access to legal aid?

In cases where the accused person approached the court for bail, was bail granted?

Why was bail granted or rejected? If granted, what were the bail conditions and quantum of bail?

Were there any other notable irregularities that took place, or other significant details?

Details of sources (names of accused, names and numbers of any lawyers, names of any police officers contacted)

Resources

Resources Related to Conflict

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

Images

Image Credit:  

Image Credit:  

Video

On April 24, 2020, the Odisha forest department demolished the homes of 32 forestdwelling families in Sagada village on the grounds that they were encroaching on reserved forest land. They did not get any notice prior to the demolition. The operation was led by the divisional forest officer of South Kalahandi and subcollector of Bhawanipatna. As the demolition drive was in progress, local advocate Siddharth Naik reached the spot and tried to intervene. But he was sent away by the forest department. The government defended the demolition and consequent eviction by saying that the forest dwellers were encroachers and belonged to another village 15 kilometres away. Prafulla Samantara, a forest rights activist from the state, told LCW that the homes of the affected families were in a remote village and were destroyed in the rains, so they had migrated to Sagada six months earlier. They settled close to the panchayat office as it was convenient for them to get wage labour work, ration and Covid19 relief supplies. However, they were evicted as they had allegedly built their houses on reserved forest land. The forest department says it has shifted the evicted families to their original village and also gave each family three months worth of supplies under the public distribution system, along with Covid19 cash incentive of INR 1,000. Samantara has written to the state chief secretary demanding suspension of the officials who ordered the eviction as well as better compensation to the displaced people.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand for legal recognition of land rights

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

Forest and Scheduled Area Governance Laws

Legislations/Policies Involved

Indian Forest Act, 1927
Section 26
Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980
Section 2
Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996
Section 4
  1. 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.

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  3. 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.

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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:

Non-implmentation/violation of PESA

Lack of legal protection over land rights

Forced evictions/dispossession of land

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:

Displacement

Whether criminal law was used against protestors:

Reported Details of the Violation:

Thirty-two families were evicted from their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic

Date of Violation

April 24, 2020

Location of Violation

Sagada, Kalahandi

Nature of Protest

Complaints/petitions/letters/memorandums to officials

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Forest and Environment 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:

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:  

Image Credit:  

Documented By

Text Link

Reviewed By

Text Link

Updated By

Text Link

Edited By

Text LinkLand Conflict Watch

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