Imphal, Feb 23: The Joint Coordination Committee on Tribal Rights, Manipur (JCCOTR-M) said it took the recent eviction drive by the State government in the hill areas particularly at kangchup Chiru in Kangchup Geljang sub-division and K. Songjang village in Henglep sub-division “where hundreds of villagers were made homeless shows its rough treatment, violence and devoid of any care for humanitarian values”. The JCCOTR-M said this “inhumane act” of the State Government is condemned in the strongest term.
In a statement on Thursday, the JCCOTR-M said that the tribals in the hills were traditionally forest dwellers and their livelihood depends on the forests and its produce. “The tribal communities have lived in these forest lands for years and at the same time nurture the environment through the tribal traditional methods of conservation by using the forests judiciously,” it added.
The JCCOTR-M then said that the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 in its Section (3) sub-section (1) of clause (a) clearly mention that “right to hold and live in the forest land under the individual or common occupation for habitation or self-cultivation for livelihood by a member or members of a forest dwelling Scheduled Tribe or other traditional forest dwellers. “And where as in section (2) clause (o) mentioned that, any member or community who has for at least three generations (one generation comprising of 25 years) prior to the 13th day of December, 2005 primarily resided in and who depend on the forest or forest lands for bonafide livelihood needs. The State BJP government must understand that the forests and the tribals cannot be separated at any condition. Hence, the state government must arrange for rehabilitation including the alternative land for settlement and cost for lost properties,” it demanded.
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Therefore, the JCCOTR-M said that the “forceful eviction” of villages purportedly located inside the reserved forests is not in contravention with The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Right) Act, 2006, “and it should term as unlawful and illegal act of government machineries and the state force”.