Forest Rights Struggle: The Making Of The Law And The Decade After


Abstract: The progressive subjugation, appropriation, enclosure and policing of the forests in India since the colonial period has left millions of forest peoples in a precarious struggle for survival and waging a continuous battle for their rights. The exclusionary development and conservation thrust left in its wake, devastated forests and forest peoples. What began as the final uprooting of forest peoples from the forests in 2002, ironically triggered a nationwide struggle that forged a unique law in 2006 on tenurial rights and forest governance, with communities in control over both environment and development. However, in the decade since then, despite having made remarkable strides, with the threat of losing their vicious hold over the forest and lives of forest peoples, the state and particularly the forest bureaucracy, elite environmentalists, and the corporates continue to confront the forest peoples and the law relentlessly. This narrative details the making of the law, and the simultaneous strengthening of the law and its subversion in law and practice, a clear reflection of the ongoing power struggle as it unfolds.

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