Jagrit Dalit and Adivasi Sangathan Activists Booked Under False Charges

The activists were the first to inform administration about deforestation. They also led the tribal movement raising questions on the governance and administration in smuggling.

adivasi

Burhanpur, MP: Jagrit Dalit and Adivasi sangathan activists, Antram Awase and Madhuri have been booked under false changes by the Burhanpur Police since they hhave been protesting constantly about the illegal tree felling and timbre smuggling.

Antaram Awase , Gram Sabha President and Forest Rights Committee Secretary of Siwal village in Burhanpur district, has been arrested by the Burhanpur police yesterday on false charges. Awase an activist of Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sangathan, has been continuously opposing the deforestation and timber smuggling in Burhanpur district for the last 3 years.

He has also played a leading role in spreading awareness about the Forest Rights Act in every village in Burhanpur district. This has put stop on scaring and looting tribals by the corrupt forest staff. JADS has exposed the role of  administration in cutting trees and smuggling of timber. To cover their actions, police has arrests the JADS activists. , to cover it, repressive action has been started against the tribal movement and its workers!

The truth behind the false cases against Antram Awase:

Fake Case of 2022 – The activist who was at the forefront against deforestation was involved in a fake case with those who cut forests! Deforestation has been going on continuously for the last 6 months in Burhanpur district – when the felling started in October 2022 – the first complaint about the felling was made by Antram Awase to the DFO on the morning of 9th October. In addition to the Home Department with the District Collector, Superintendent of Police, District Forest Division Officer, Forest Department Head Chief Conservator of Forests (Forest Force Chief), Additional Chief Secretary of the Forest Department to stop the felling of more than 15000 acres Complaints were also given to the Chief Secretary, Director General of Police.

The tribals of Burhanpur district protested against tree felling and smuggling at the district collector’s office for three consecutive days from April 5. Then police came to their senses and started action against the people who were cutting trees. But, because the organization exposed the involvement of the government administration in deforestation and smuggling, the ruling and anti-tribal forces responsible for deforestation have now started attacking the activists of the organization!

Fake Case of 2019: In 2019, the forest department attempted to illegally evict the forest rights claimants of Siwal village, during which 4 tribals were shot and injured by the forest department! An FIR was also lodged against the forest staff on the subsequent complaint of the villagers after the bullet challan – no action was taken on the complaint of the villagers, but action was taken on the false complaint made by the forest department against the person who filed the complaint! After the movement against illegal eviction and firing, the officers responsible for the illegal action were also transferred and the process of harassing the activists who made complaints started.

The felling has now doubled over the past week, with three new areas being deforested hence new round of protests by JADS activists.

JADS activists have been camped outside the police station and protesting the arrest and demading the Shivraj Singh governemnt to stop felling of trees and timber smuggling. But instead police have booked more activists under false charges.

Jagrit Dalti and Adivasi Sangathan activist Madhuri has been charged with 21 cases by the Forest Department and 3 others by the police – who are making ridiculous and false accusations against Sangathan and Madhuri who has been constantly campaigning against State government’s connivance in tree felling and timber smuggling. The police is claiming that she is somehow responsible for the felling of 500 acres of trees.

Apart from the various complaints given by the Sangathan tree felling and smuggling of wood, Madhuri has been constantly informing the District Collector, District Forest Officer and the Superintendent of Police, Burhanpur of instances of tree felling SINCE 9th OCTOBER – the day rampant tree felling started!

In their attempt to suppress the organization and Adivasi movement questioning the government’s role in the felling and timber smuggling, the Sangathan has been ridiculously accused of extorting money under the garb of applying for Forest Rights Claims. They have claimed that Sangathan membership receipts that each Sangathan family has with them, are somehow “a proof” of extortion.

In truth, these membership receipts are governed by Adivasi activists of the organization, and the money deposited into a joint account co-owned by 3 Adivasi women! All of the money in the accounts is used solely for the purposes of meeting expenses such as that of arranging for logistical needs like the sound, for protests or for Adivasi activists when they need to travel out of their districts!

Such attempts to spread misinformation and discredit the Sangathan are further proof of the political vendetta against the Sangathan and its’ activists — for continuously asking questions of the role of the government in months of tree felling and timber smuggling!!

 

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May 2024
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