Maharashtra: Hundreds of Tribals Protests in Palghar Against Draconian Changes to Forest Act
The CPI(M) and AIKS will be holding a much larger demonstration in Nashik on Tuesday, July 23 to raise the issue.
Hundreds of tribals gathered at the SDO office at Dahanu in the Palghar district of Maharashtra on Monday, July 22 to protest against the Modi government’s proposed amendments to the Indian Forest Act.
At the demonstration called by All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), All-India Agricultural Workers’ Union (AIAWU), Adivasi Adhikar Rashtriya Manch (AARM) and other Adivasi organisations, the protestors opposed the anti-tribals and pro-corporate proposed amendments to the act.
The Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party government has sought to amend various provisions of the law and activists have raised concerns that these changes would trample upon the rights of tribals and forest-dwellers. Increased policing powers have also been proposed, which could pave way for serious human rights abuse in these areas. Per the amendments, state governments would be empowered to take away tribal/forest dwellers’ rights over forest resources if it believes that forest conservation objectives are not being met in the area.
Earlier this year, the Supreme Court had ordered state governments to evic tribals/forest dwellers whose claims under the (Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, had been rejected. The move would affect over 2 million tribals in the country. While the order was stayed temporarily after much outrage, the next hearing of the case is scheduled for Wednesday, July 24.
The protestors also oppose those who have challenged the Forest Rights Act in the SC.
“The Dahanu demonstration was led by Radka Kalangda, Edward Vartha, Vinod Nikole, Lahani Dauda, Ramdas Sutar and other leaders of the AIKS, CITU, AIDWA, DYFI and AARM,” a press release said.
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) and CPI(M) would be holding a larger demonstration in at Kalwan in Nashik on July 23, to raise the issues. Politburo member Brinda Karat, AIKS national president Dr Ashok Dhawale, AIKS former state president and seven-term MLA JP Gavit and other leaders would be addressing the gathering.