National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) expressed shock and outraged at the order of the Apex Court issued yesterday directing forcible evictions of more than one million forest dwellers including large numbers of adivasis whose claims under the Forest Rights Act, 2006 (FRA) have been ‘rejected’ by the respective District Level Committees in different states.
The Court has mandated that the order be complied by 12th July, by the 16 state governments which filed status reports on the implementation of the FRA. Notably, the numbers are bound to increase once the affidavits and data from all the states are received in the ongoing matter.
The order passed by Justice Arun Mishra, Justice Navin Sinha, Justice Indira Banerjee came on a bunch of petitions filed by conservation, wild life groups and retired forest officers who have been challenging FRA since its inception.
However, NAPM deplored that it is not surprising that given the anti-farmer, anti-dalit, anti-adivasi and anti-poor stance of the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre, not a single lawyer was present on behalf of the Union Government who could have defended the provisions of the law in the Apex Court and protected the rights of some of the most marginalized and disenfranchised rights people as enshrined in the FRA.
NAPM condemns this colonial and callous attitude towards the forest dwellers and adivasis prevalent in the conservation lobby, the bureaucracy and even the judiciary and demands that Union government immediately intervenes in Supreme Court through effective legal representation and stop this massive eviction across the country.
It demanded that the union Government must issue an Ordinance forthwith to stop any execution of this order leading to unjust evictions of forest people across the country. All State governments must immediately intervene in the Supreme Court with affidavits seeking time for review and fair implementation of the Act. An Independent Commission needs to be set up to review, state-wise, the gaps in the implementation of FRA and reasons for such large-scale rejection, it added.