Tribals being Driven Out of Forests: Rights Activists
HYDERABAD: The scheduled tribes today are going through a living hell as they are being driven out of the land they have grown up in and the government chooses to pay a deaf ear to their plight, allege human rights activists.
“As per the 2006 Forest Rights Act, as many as 4 lakh forest-dwellers have filed applications for about 12 lakh acres of land that they have been cultivating. Out of this, only 1.76 lakh tribals got the permit,” S Jeevan Kumar, president of the Human Rights Forum has said.
Addressing a press conference here on Wednesday, rights activists demanded the government to protect the rights of the tribal community. “The government says that post-bifurcation, most of the lands have been handed to Andhra Pradesh and hence the government has stopped accepting applications from the people here,” Jeevan Kumar said.
“As per the Forest Rights Act 2006, the Adivasi communities living in the forests were hoping to get legal rights over forest land that they have been cultivating and there would be no harassment. But the ground reality is totally opposite,” he added.
Forest officials have been continuously attacking Koya tribals in Enukuru, Joolurupadu, Ramachandrapuram, Dummugudem and Pinapaka mandals of Bhadrachalam division to leave the forest, Vasudha, a High Court advocate and a human rights activist, said.
“They have nowhere to go. The forest department officials say that the land belongs to trees and animals but not humans. We find it unethical because after all, they are the ones who conserve the forests,” she said, further adding, “They do not even have legal documents for the land and hence, it becomes easier for the government to evacuate them.” When asked if the members are willing to adopt to urbanisation, Vasudha said it would be difficult for them to adjust.