India

Millions of forest-dwelling indigenous people in India to be evicted

Critics say supreme court ruling constitutes ‘mass eviction in name of conservation’

Millions of Indians face eviction after the country’s supreme court ruled that indigenous people illegally living on forest land should move.

Campaigners for the rights of tribal and forest-dwelling people have called the court’s decision on Wednesday “an unprecedented disaster” and “the biggest mass eviction in the name of conservation, ever”.

The ruling came in response to petitions filed by various wildlife conservation groups, which wanted the court to declare the 2006 Forest Rights Act invalid. The act gives forest dwelling people the right to their ancestral lands, including those in specially “protected” areas that contain sanctuaries and wildlife parks to conserve wild life. The groups told the court that “tribal” people in 20 states had encroached illegally on these protected areas, jeopardising efforts to protect wildlife and forests.

See full story at the Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/feb/22/millions-of-forest-dwelling-indigenous-people-in-india-to-be-evicted

A woman sits with her belongings after forest officers demolished her house during an eviction drive on the outskirts of Gauhati, India in August 2017. Photograph: Anupam Nath/AP

A woman sits with her belongings after forest officers demolished her house during an eviction drive on the outskirts of Gauhati, India in August 2017. Photograph: Anupam Nath/AP