The Forest Department of Madhya Pradesh has been accused of illegally demolishing houses of tribal forest rights claimants in Bhilai Kheda village. The incident took place without any prior notice, in which a team of 200-250 officials of the Forest Department broke the tappers of the tribals.
According to the Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sangathan, a people organization in Madhya Pradesh, people were reportedly not allowed to speak to officials and were forced to record videos of the demolition in secret. The Forest Rights Act requires claims to be decided by the Gram Sabha, upon which claims are then decided by subdivision and district-level committees.
However, the claims of the claimants in Bhilai Kheda were allegedly illegally rejected through a fake Gram Sabha, and no notice of appeal was given regarding the rejection, which is required by law.
Jagrut Adivasi Dalit Sangathan tweeted about the incident and also shared some videos. The organization has been advocating for the rights of marginalized communities including Adivasis and Dalits for many years.
The organization tweeted "On 12.05.2023, the houses built in the fields of tribal forest rights claimants of village Bhilaikheda have been illegally demolished by the Forest Department! Without any information, by deploying a force of 200-250 forest department, the tappers of the tribals were broken!"
The Forest Rights Act was enacted in 2006 to recognize and guarantee the rights of forest-dwelling communities and other traditional forest dwellers. However, cases of violations of these rights continue to occur, often without adequate legal recourse.
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