Thousands of Adivasis March to Delhi to Reclaim their Forests and their Dignity

Thousands of Tribals Stage Protest in Delhi to Claim Land under Forest Rights Act. | Image - The New Leam Staff

A magnificent rally of ordinary Adivasis and farmers demanding the implementation of the Forest Right Act in its true spirit lighted up the political landscape of the capital today. Thousands of farmers and Adivasi folk from the remotest corners of the country gathered together outside Delhi’s Jantar Mantar to demand for the implementation of the Forest Right Act(2006)in its full spirit. 

The Forest Rights Act(2006), acknowledges the historic injustices committed over centuries towards the Adivasis and the forest dependent communities. The basic essence of this law is that the country should accept these historical injustices and make remedies to ensure justice. Nearly twelve years have passed since the implementation of the forest rights law, but so far this landmark law hasn’t been implemented effectively at the ground level. From the early stage of implementation, forest departments, feudal sections of the society, forest mafia and vested interests have been continuously creating new obstacles. The administration and the political class has shown little interest in the implementation of this historic law and have remained insensitive to the voice of the Adivasis. Gradually, forest land is being allocated to industries and large scale corporations, on which the rights of the forest-dependent communities are vested. It is apparent that subsequent governments have not been very keen to implement the forest law on ground. The governments have been more keen to compel forest dwellers and Adivasis to vacate their lands and offer them to crony corporate houses.

For the last seven months, more than 10 crore Adivasis and other forest communities of the country are in a situation of worry and perpetual uncertainty. Not only are they being displaced but even their livelihoods are being taken away from them. Amid stark indifference and insensitivity by the government, the Adivasis and other forest-communities are coming together to demand the full fledged implementation of the Forest Right Act(2006) in its true constitutional spirit. It is not surprising then that massive protests by the Adivasis shook the country on 17th and 18th July 2019 on the call by the land rights movement and forest rights organisations. In the wake of the next hearing which is scheduled on 26th November 2019, voices from diverse parts of the country have once again made their power felt at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar. Thousands of forest dwelling communities indeed gathered to assert their rights as citizens of the country under the banner of the Bhumi Adhikar Andolan. This is a struggle of all the forest dependent communities to reclaim and reassert their rights over forest land. 

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