Demolition Fears Stalk Dehradun. And more

Unmaking of a city
Fear of extra-legal and arbitrary evictions stalks parts of Dehradun, Uttarakhand’s capital. Why? Our legal research lead Mukta Joshi travelled to the city to locate the reasons for the raging anxiety. 

What did she find? Two elevated roads have been proposed right in the middle of two rivers, Bindal and Rispana, which were once the lifeline of the valley. Residents of riverbank slums and bastis fear proposed projects will come at the cost of their homes. They draw their fear from the precedent of Tarla Aamwala, a locality where Dalit families were evicted without due process by the authorities, who misused high court orders to conduct demolition drives.

Fresh off the press, read Mukta’s story that melds history, urban geography, law and the tales of those living in fear.

Claim on forest lands
The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) has invoked its special Constitutional powers to evaluate states’ implementation of Forest Rights Act (FRA). This is a first for the commission, which has immense powers on the statute that it rarely used. 

The commission has asked the Supreme Court’s registrar to provide it with all the affidavits (previously undisclosed documents) submitted by state governments in a long-drawn case challenging the constitutional validity of FRA. These documents contain state-wise status on the implementation of FRA. 

This is the latest move by NCST to oversee and protect the rights of the tribal communities under FRA.  

It had earlier critiqued and questioned the Union Environment ministry’s changes to the new forest conservation rules which dilute the rights of communities under the Act.

During his research, our researcher, Prudhviraj Rupavath came to know of this intervention by the commision and wrote about it. Read it here.

New in Our Database

Our database and collaborations lead, Mrinali provides a short summary of five new conflicts added to our public database.

  1. Maharashtra’s Ratnagiri saw a fresh round of protests against an oil refinery proposed more than five years ago. The project stands to displace locals, causing harm to the fragile biodiversity, and could potentially damage ancient rock carvings in the area. Researcher Saumya Srivastava documents the case.  
  2. We recorded two cases of land conflicts in Jammu and Kashmir. In Jammu, over 38,000 trees are likely to be axed for the construction of the Jammu High Court, displacing tribal families, records researcher Mubashir Bukhari. Adding to the rising cases of evictions across Kashmir, researcher Rabiya Bashir reports a case in Budgam where about 1,700 households are being evicted from grazing lands.
  3. In Manipur’s Tamenglong, protesters oppose the expansion of a wildlife sanctuary, which they claim will take away their community land, writes Anurag Das. In another case in Manipur, nine villages are protesting the forceful occupation of their villages by Assam Rifles, a paramilitary force accused of excesses in the state.
  4. South Goan communities protest two highway projects. The highways, residents argue, would damage the ecology. One of the projects is slated to pass through a wildlife sanctuary. Our researchers Malavika Neurekar and Maitreya Ghorpade bring you more details.
  5. In Delhi, Gyaspur Basti residents were evicted to create a recreational park. They approached the Delhi High Court and got a stay order on the demolitions. But it was later revoked stating that the Basti was not notified anywhere as a Jhuggi Jhopri cluster, reports Asmi Sharma.

Mrinali, Database and Collaborations Lead
Furquan Ameen, Associate Editor