Chhattisgarh government writes to Centre for guidelines to rehabilitate internally displaced Bastar tribals

The Adivasis of as many 644 villages in south Bastar witnessed the widespread displacement after the tribals were caught between the Maoists and the controversial Salwa Judum campaign, 14 years ago.

Published: 22nd September 2019 07:43 PM  |   Last Updated: 22nd September 2019 07:43 PM   |  A+A-

Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel

Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel (File Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

RAIPUR: The issue of rehabilitation of thousands of displaced Bastar tribals willing to return to their home state continues to hang fire. The Chhattisgarh government has now written to the Centre seeking comprehensive guidelines regarding the return of these tribals from south Chhattisgarh who have moved to Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. 

The Adivasis of as many 644 villages in south Bastar witnessed the widespread displacement after the tribals were caught between the Maoists and the controversial Salwa Judum campaign, some 14 years ago.

The internally displaced tribals from south Bastar who migrated to neighbouring states of Andhra Pradesh (AP), Telangana and Odisha, had now invoked a clause on ‘in situ rehabilitation’ of the Forest Rights Act (FRA) 2005. Most of them who moved out are still reluctant to return to Chhattisgarh owing to the looming Maoist terror.

“Some displaced families want to get settled in Telangana, AP while some displaced tribals wish a safer place in their native district in Chhattisgarh. As “In-Situ” rehabilitation is to be done either over forest land or over alternative land under Section 3 (1) (m) of FRA and the matter equally involves area of two or more states, a clarification is required whether this provision is applicable in case of inter-state displacement,” secretary (ST/SC Welfare department) DD Singh wrote to the ministry of Tribal Affairs seeking guideline.

In July this year, the union tribal affairs ministry took the decision for carrying out a survey to identify the displaced tribals who can be entitled to rehabilitation under the FRA-2005. The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes in mid-June though instructed Chhattisgarh to begin survey taking help from adjoining states of Telangana, AP and Odisha to begin the survey but it couldn’t start.

A Raipur-based voluntary organisation CGNet Swara Foundation has found out that about 5000 tribal families are being displaced and they are living mostly in Telangana and AP.

The Section 39 (1) (m) of the FRA-2006 provides “right to in-situ rehabilitation including alternative land in cases where the ST or other traditional forest dwellers have been illegally evicted or displaced from forest land of any description without receiving their legal entitlement to rehabilitation prior to December 2005”.

The state government admits it’s an extensive work to be accomplished in areas affected by the left wing extremism.

On August 6, as many as 112 tribal families in a joint request to the state chief secretary had expressed their willingness to settle along the roadside villages. “Our villages are worst affected by Maoist violence and we can't return there. The government therefore should offer us safer land in place of our Maoist-village land under Section 3 (1) (M) of FRA,” the letter of villagers stated.

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