MP:Fresh Attack on Adivasis Asserting their rights and opposing Atrocities against them

Activists Ask-Why does MP govt. fear Adivasis who ask questions and demand accountability from them.

Adivasis rally in Madhya Pradesh against Bonded labour

In the most recent attack on Adivasis demanding their legal and constitutional rights in Madhya Pradesh Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sangathan activist Madhuri has been externed from Burhanpur district for a period of one year. Madhuri spearheaded the legal awareness campaign and was also active in the recent campaign against massive illegal forest felling in the area.

Adivasi activists of Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sangathan responded to the move by issuing a statement asking, “Why does CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan fear Adivasis asserting their rights?” They also declared that they would not be suppressed by this attack on the Adivasi movement, nor will the movement stop raising its voice against the atrocities enabled by MP government and its’ administration. Further, the order will not only be appealed against in the High Court, but that the organization would also lead an extensive campaign to reveal the conspiracy to repress dissenting voices opposing the destruction of Jal-Jangal-Zameen.

For the past 5 years, JADS activists and members have not only been unitedly campaigning for their rights but have also been consistently opposing illegal forest felling made possible by the connivance of Forest Department. In the widespread forest felling that started in October 2022 resulting in the loss of trees over roughly 15,000 acres of forest land and the illegal smuggling of crores of timber – undoubtedly aided and abetted by the administration and the state government. This obscene collusion was fiercely resisted by the organization as over a thousand Adivasi women and men led a 3-day long protest against the tacit support given to the widespread illegal forest felling by MP Government, emphasizing that felling at such a scale is impossible without the implicit support of the State government itself. It is pertinent to note that the Forest Minister of MP, hails from the adjoining district of Khandwa, not far from the site of mass felling.

35 Adivasis Arrested After Run-ins with the Forest Department

Troubled by the challenge posed by the movement, the state unleashed a wave of repression since April 2023, arresting Adivasi activists leading the movement, maligning their image by making baseless accusations against them, even going as far to try and illegally evict eligible claimants under the Forest Rights Act, because they highlighted and complained against the administrations’ role in the widespread illegal tree felling over the past 6 months! Now, they have externed Sangathan activist Madhuri for a period one year from Burhanpur district.

Forest department in Burhanpur has been attempting to illegally evict Forest Rights Claimants for years, while turning a blind eye to illegal felling that was being carried out right under their noses – while the brazen disregard the department has for the Forest Rights Act and protection by the State allowed its personnel to threaten, harass and torture rightful claimants with no repercussions at all. However, the Forest Department began facing unprecedented resistance against its’ illegal activity as Adivasis began asserting their rights over the past few years and refused to be extorted or exploited by forest staff as they had been for generations – this has resulted in widespread resentment amongst personnel who revelled in exploiting and harassing Adivasis. Thanks to the department and an enabling and apathetic administration about 10,000 forest rights claims remain pending in the district, and Adivasis continue to be criminalized for simply farming on lands they have been living on for generations.

JADS activists remain committed to ensuring the right to a dignified life to every citizen, to make the dream of our Constitution a reality and to resolutely resist the loot and exploitation of their Jal Jangal Zameen.

Harsing Jamre – 9893104698 ; Asha Bai – 9343462579; Madhuri – 9179753640


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May 2024


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