adivasis eviction

The Supreme Court of India has ordered the forced eviction of more than one million Adivasi and other forest-dwelling households from forestlands across 16 states after the government failed to defend a law protecting their rights. The final country-wide numbers of forced evictions are likely to rise substantially as other states are forced to comply with the court orders. The court’s orders came in a case filed by wildlife groups questioning the validity of the Forest Rights Act. The petitioners had also demanded that all those whose claims over traditional forestlands are rejected under the law should be evicted by state governments as a consequence.

The Union government failed to present its lawyers in defence of the law on February 13, leading a three-judge bench of Arun Mishra, Navin Sinha and Indira Banerjee to pass orders giving states till July 27 to evict tribals whose claims had been rejected and submit a report on it to the Supreme Court. The written order was released on February 20.

The court said that the state governments would “ensure that where the rejection orders have been passed, eviction will be carried out on or before the next date of hearing. In case the eviction is not carried out, as aforesaid, the matter would be viewed seriously by this Court.” The next date of hearing is set for July 27 – the effective date by when states would have to evict tribals to comply with the court orders.

The Forest Rights Act, which was passed during the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance’s first tenure, requires the government to hand back traditional forestlands to tribals and other forest-dwellers against laid down criteria. The Act, passed in 2006, has seen opposition from within ranks of forest officials as well as some wildlife groups and naturalists.

The last time country-wide evictions took place was in 2002-2004, again triggered by a Supreme Court order, which led to many cases of violence, deaths and protests in the central Indian tribal forested areas and uprooting of around 300,000 households, notes researcher C R Bijoy in his published research.

Adivasi rights activist Gladson Dungdung said in a Facebook post,

“13 February 2019 has become a black day for the Adivasis of India. Interestingly, an upper caste person filed a case in the Supreme Court and three upper caste judges took decision to through out 1.1 million Adivasis out of their abodes the forests. On 5 January 2011 the SC in its historical decision, said that 8% Adivasis/Tribes/scheduled Tribes are the first settlers and owners of the country and rest 92% people are decscedants of immigrants or invaders. Therefore, a billion dollar question is that how can the invedors take decision to through out the first settlers from their territory? This decision has been taken with a clear intension to grab the land, territory and resources of the Adivasis. Therefore, we must be united and fight back to protect our land, territory and resources. Jai Adivasi!”

Human Rights defender Stan Swamy said in a Facebook post,

“SC orders forced eviction of more than 1 million (ten lakhs) tribals, forest-dwellers
Court gives states till July 27 to evict tribals based on a petition filed by wildlife groups questioning the validity of the Forest Rights Act.

Question that arises …
 Why did govt lawyers absent themselves from the hearing ?
 Why did not govt lawyers defend the Forest Rights Act, 2006 ?
 Is the life of Adivasis and other forest-dwellers less valuable than the aesthetic pleasure of ‘wild-life lovers’ who are mostly urban middle-class ?”

Countercurrents is answerable only to our readers. Support honest journalism because we have no PLANET B. Become a Patron at Patreon Subscribe to our Telegram channel



  1. goldenfig says:

    This is unjust to deny adivasis their rights. Animals,trees, forests must be given equal rights with the adivasis. Not more not less. See

  2. Sumanta Banerjee says:

    India’s apex court, which has already blemished its reputation through in-fighting among its judges, allegations of corruption against some among them, and a series of ill-conceived judgments in the past, has now finally forfeited its right to sit in judgment on the Indian people, by passing this inhuman order evicting one million Adivasis from their forest lands. It’s about
    time that we – common citizens, civil society groups, intellectuals and political forces ranging
    from Gandhians to Left and socialist parties – gather together to defy the unjust ruling of the Supreme Court, and revive Gandhi’s model of a non-cooperation movement that will refuse to obey unjust court orders, and organize mass demonstrations against any administrative steps to carry out such orders.

    Sumanta Banerjee

  3. A.Raghu Kumar says:

    Yes, the time has come for deeper reflection on courts and judgements without the fear of contempt. The Parliamentarians – the peoples’ representatives cannot shy away from their responsibilities. All assorted thoughts from Gandhi, Dr. Ambedkar, Dr. Lohia,… shall rethink of Gandhian modes of action to protest the terrible human degradation likely to result. At the same time I convey my disagreement with that portion of the article which tries to rely on the logistics of original and immigrants since such are arguments can only help dividing any concerted action from the right thinking people and can only help the cause of the other..

  4. Mangesh says:

    Please i want to know name of person or NGO of Name who fight agains the adivasi rights