RAIPUR: The Chhattisgarh government has approached the central government seeking comprehensive guidelines for rehabilitation of tribals of 644 villages of South Bastar caught in the Maoist conflict and forced to flee to adjacent states of Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
The displacements occurred during the height of the Salwa Judum movement where militia were mobilised and deployed to counter Maoist violence in the region, some 14 years ago.
The internally displaced tribals who are reluctant to return to the conflict zone had invoked a clause in the Forest Rights Act 2005 for ‘in situ rehabilitation,’ while offering their own land in Chhattisgarh for compensatory accommodation.
“Some displaced families want to settle where they are. Others, want to be relocated to ‘safer’ areas out of the ‘war’ zone,” said Chhattisgarh secretary for SC/ST Welfare department, DD Singh.
He said, “in-situ” rehabilitation is to be in lieu of forest land or alternative land under Section 3(1) (m) of FRA. The matter equally involves two or more states.
Thus, a clarification is required whether this provision is applicable in case of inter-state displacement.
The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes had in mid-June instructed Chhattisgarh for survey with help from adjacent states, which did not materialise.
In July, the Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs decided on a survey to identify displaced tribals who could be rehabilitated.
CGNet Swara Foundation estimated about 5,000 displaced tribal families living in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
Officials say the task involving enumeration in Maoist areas is a complex one.
On August 6, as many as 112 tribal families requested state chief secretary to allow them to settle in roadside villages.
“Our villages are worst affected by Maoist violence. We cannot return,” they said in their plea.