To make tribals aware of their rights and to encourage them to fight for their cause, a network of 43 NGOs, under the aegis of Adivasi Mahasabha, will work towards the complete implementation of Forest Rights Act, 2006.
Social activists of the network have been running series of awareness programmes in the tribal belt and now will urge tribals to take up their cause in line with the Act.
Member of Adivasi Mahasabha (AM), that held a meeting in the city on Tuesday, shared their plan of action. They will aggressively work to ensure that the Act be implemented as it stands and the extra ordinary power given to forest department should be removed or taken away.
“The Act is not implemented as per laws mentioned in it and grave injustice is done to tribal people as they end up losing their land. As per the Act, it’s stated that any officer who acts against the Act, should be punished, but this rule is not followed at any level,” said Xavier Manjooran, member of AM.
Manjooran added that state government should take note and act against officers who take an anti-tribal or anti-Act stand. “Claim applications sent to committee by tribal for ownership of the land most of the times are rejected without any valid reason. The Act is made to acknowledge the rights of the tribal and vest them with the power,” Manjooran told.
The members also shared that due to improper implementation of the Act, there is a continuous friction between the forest department and tribals. “The Act is made to pave way for harmony and justice, but with most officers not aware about the Act in totality, it ends up being misused. It’s mentioned that till the legal procedure of transfer of ownership is on, no action can be initiated by forest department officials. But, many a times stern action is taken right in the middle of the proceedings,” Manjooran added.