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Van Gujjars send letters to 13 Ministers and officials to prevent unlawful eviction

Dedicated to the protection of their homeland, Van Gujjar community drafts letters to decry the creation of a tiger reserve and to assert their forest rights.

Sabrangindia 17 Oct 2020

Shivalik Saharanpur’s Van Gujjar community sent as many as 13 letters to central and state officials on October 15, 2020 to complain about forced eviction, illegal creation of a tiger reserve and an army firing range.

Following discussions earlier on Thursday, community members sent letters to Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Union Forest and Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, Union Minister of Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, State Minister of Forest and Environment and Zoos Dara Singh Chauhan, State Human Rights Commission and other Saharanpur officials.

In the letter, they narrated how the Army had, in recent years, started practising firing in Shivalik’s forest areas, endangering lives of the community people and cattle. Nearly 1,800 Gujjar families and their cattle depend on the forests of Badkala range, Shakumbari range and Mohand range for their survival.

“We have come to know that these areas are proposed to be turned into a tiger reserve. However, our community has not been officially notified about this. We oppose the creation of such a reserve until our forest rights have been assured. Accordingly, we have written our complaints and wish that our grievances be properly addressed,” said the letter.

They also informed officials about the local administration’s threat of forced eviction which violates the rights assured to the Gujjar community under the Forest Act of 2006.

“On December 13, 2005, the Parliament recognised the rights of Scheduled Tribes and traditional forest-dwellers under implied provisions of the 2006 and 2007 Acts,” they said, asserting that Gujjars could not be arbitrarily evicted from their ancestral land.

Further, they reminded the officials that as per a Supreme Court judgement, Van Gujjars cannot be evicted unless they are rehabilitated to other places. In light of all these arguments, the community appealed to officials to take swift action to resolve their predicament.

The letter may be read here: 

Related:

Van Gujjars demand for forest rights, local representatives offer support
The forest is ours and will remain ours: Adivasi man's letter to CJP
Give forest rights not tiger reserves: Van Gujjar forest-dwellers in Uttarakhand
UP Adivasis oppose land grab attempt, get death threats

Van Gujjars send letters to 13 Ministers and officials to prevent unlawful eviction

Dedicated to the protection of their homeland, Van Gujjar community drafts letters to decry the creation of a tiger reserve and to assert their forest rights.

Shivalik Saharanpur’s Van Gujjar community sent as many as 13 letters to central and state officials on October 15, 2020 to complain about forced eviction, illegal creation of a tiger reserve and an army firing range.

Following discussions earlier on Thursday, community members sent letters to Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Union Forest and Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, Union Minister of Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, State Minister of Forest and Environment and Zoos Dara Singh Chauhan, State Human Rights Commission and other Saharanpur officials.

In the letter, they narrated how the Army had, in recent years, started practising firing in Shivalik’s forest areas, endangering lives of the community people and cattle. Nearly 1,800 Gujjar families and their cattle depend on the forests of Badkala range, Shakumbari range and Mohand range for their survival.

“We have come to know that these areas are proposed to be turned into a tiger reserve. However, our community has not been officially notified about this. We oppose the creation of such a reserve until our forest rights have been assured. Accordingly, we have written our complaints and wish that our grievances be properly addressed,” said the letter.

They also informed officials about the local administration’s threat of forced eviction which violates the rights assured to the Gujjar community under the Forest Act of 2006.

“On December 13, 2005, the Parliament recognised the rights of Scheduled Tribes and traditional forest-dwellers under implied provisions of the 2006 and 2007 Acts,” they said, asserting that Gujjars could not be arbitrarily evicted from their ancestral land.

Further, they reminded the officials that as per a Supreme Court judgement, Van Gujjars cannot be evicted unless they are rehabilitated to other places. In light of all these arguments, the community appealed to officials to take swift action to resolve their predicament.

The letter may be read here: 

Related:

Van Gujjars demand for forest rights, local representatives offer support
The forest is ours and will remain ours: Adivasi man's letter to CJP
Give forest rights not tiger reserves: Van Gujjar forest-dwellers in Uttarakhand
UP Adivasis oppose land grab attempt, get death threats

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