MP Forest Department allegedly burns down tribal family’s home

When residents contacted the forest ranger to report the violation, he threatened to burn more houses in the area!


In a shocking incident members of the Madhya Pradesh Forest Department allegedly burnt down the home of a tribal family. The Gram Panchayat of Siwal village of Madhya Pradesh’s Burhanpur has written to the police station in-charge Nepanagar about the blatant violation of the rights of the tribal residents by the Madhya Pradesh forest department.

According to the letter, forest officials allegedly illegally burnt down the hut of an Adivasi family which they had erected to stay in while they were they were protecting their field.

In the letter to the police inspector, the other tribal residents of the village claimed that as everyone was busy with work nobody was present at the site of the incident. However, by the time, the residents came to know of the actions of the forest department and reached the place, the officials had already burnt down the hut and fled from there.

After this, when the villagers called up Forest Ranger Dinesh Waskale to inform them about what had happened, he instead said, “Abhi toh main tereko bone nahin doonga. Tension mat le. Udaa doonga. Saare tapre udayenge abhi. Abhi aayenge wapas, tu bahut ud raha hai (Translation: I will not let you sow the seeds. Don’t worry, I will destroy all the huts. We will come back, you’re acting too smart).”

The letter also stated that the tribals had been farming there since 1984 and they had claims to their land. All of them were claimants to the land under the Forest Rights Act. Sildaar Khajaan and his wife too have sent their claims for processing and they’re awaiting the confirmation of the same, which was delayed due to the Covid-19 crisis.

They stated that according to the Forest Rights Act, 2006 clause 4 (5) nobody could be evicted from their land till the investigation and verification of forest rights claims was done as per the rules. In addition, in the order dated May 1, 2019 passed by the Department of Tribal Welfare, it was clear that under the Forest Rights Act, no department could take action against the claimant till the process was completed by the vana mitra. Alleging that the act of the forest department was in violation of the constitutional rights and the rights bestowed by the Madhya Pradesh government, the villagers demanded that an FIR be registered against the concerned forest officials under Sections 3(1)(v), 3(2)(iii) and Sectin 3(2)(iv) of the Prevention of Atrocities Act, 1989. They also demanded action against Forest Ranger Dinesh Waskale for threats of murder and arson.

The Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sangathan which tweeted about the incident said that that this wasn’t the isolated incident in Burhanpur. Earlier too, almost a year ago to carry out an eviction attempt, the Forest Department had illegally opened pellet fire on tribals, injuring four. The violation was met with strong resistance by the Adivasis which forced the government to take action against the District Forest Officer (DFO), Sub Divisional Officer (SDO) and Forest Ranger.

Last month, the Odisha Forest Department demolished the homes of 32 tribal families leaving 90 people bereft of food and shelter. The Manipur Forest Department demolished houses built in the reserved forest area.


Lockdown horror: Manipur forest department demolishes homes of forest dwellers
32 tribals homes demolished in Kalahandi Odisha



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