Uttar Pradesh – Public Hearing on poor implementation of FRA, April 2

March 28, 2011

Public Hearing on Poor implementation of Forest Rights Act and atrocities on forest people by Forest Department

Sahkarita Bhavan, Lucknow
2nd April 2011

National Forum of Forest People and Forest workers (NFFPFW) is an alliance of various people’s movements and organisations struggling for the rights of forest dwellers for nearly a decade now all across the country.

We are all aware of the problems with the implementation of the Forest Rights Act all across the country. In UP, we have been engaged in implementation of the Act but have faced problems not only from the bureaucracy but also from the feudal forces in the society. To bring out some of these issues NFFPFW are organizing a Citizen’s Tribunal on 2nd April 2011 in Lucknow, UP on the atrocities inflicted on forest people, tribal, dalits and other poor classes in the past decades. The public hearing will also look into matter of implementation of Forest Rights Act in UP.

Over the past few decades Forest Department has lodged thousands of illegal cases u/s of Indian Forest Act 1927 on forest people and the activists implicating in many offenses like poaching, encroachment, clear felling of trees etc. The cases have not only been lodged u/s of above mentioned Act but also u/s of Wild Life Protection Act, IPC, 7 criminal Act and even NSA across the State. In the light of Forest Rights Act now such cases should be withdrawn by the State Government in order to mitigate the ” historical injustice” inflicted on forest people as mentioned in the preamble of the Act. The State Government has issued orders to withdraw some petty offenses few months ago after a massive protest by forest dwellers in District Sonbhadra. But instead of withdrawing the cases, the entire exercise has been left to Forest Department who through the Lok adalats are forcing the tribal and other forest dwellers to confess the offense and pay the money to dispose off the cases. The FD is making criminal history of the tribal who now according to the FRA should be owners of the forest.

Along with these issues there are many other issues relating to implementation of the Forest Rights Act that needs to be looked into legally. Hence it is very important that such issues comes in limelight through an independent Tribunal that will also alert the State Government to look into these matters seriously.

Jury members who have confirmed till now are : Mannu Lal Markam (Retd. Judge, Jabal HC), Ad Ravi Kiran Jain ( HC, Allahabad), Smita Gupta(member drafting committee of Forest rights Act), Manimala (Director, Gandhi Smriti Darshan, New Delhi) and Praful Bidwai (Senior Journalist)

We request you to join in this public hearing

Munnilal( Convenor), Ashok chowdhury (Founder and ex convenor), Roma (FRA campaign coordinator, UP & Uttarakhand),
Shanta Bhattcharjee, Rajnish and Ramchander Rana(Member, state level monitoring committee)