[dropcap]G[/dropcap]OBBLE D. Gook is happy that the Apex Court judges have reconsidered the situation at the ground level and stayed the implementation of their February 13 order which had inter alia directed the eviction of forest dwellers and tribals across the country. This would have resulted in the forcible eviction of tribals from their customary dwellings in 21 states.
An NGO named ‘Wildlife First’ wanted “encroachers” removed from forests. That, in itself, is no doubt a laudable aim.
Unfortunately, tribals with hardly any literacy, can hardly be expected to deal with all the paperwork and legal formalities necessary to prove their “claims” under the Forest Rights Act. No one even bothered about such compliances for all these years as the Act itself had ample provisions for survey and classification, but none for eviction.
Then came the SC order like a thunderbolt thrown by angry gods.
It went beyond the legislation itself and effectively directed the States to “throw them out!” as if they were extra-terrestrials and had no right to be here!
In all this, the truly large scale “official” destroyers of the environment and forests, such as miners, tree-felling timber traders and land sharks, creating building spaces by sponsoring forest fires, went unquestioned and untouched while genuine ‘Forest Dwelling Scheduled Tribes’ (FDSTs) and ‘Other Traditional Forest Dwellers’ (OTFDs) bore the brunt of the SC’s righteous wrath.
Gook has witnessed how in the not too distant past, even in National Park areas in Humbug City, genuine adivasis were ousted from the forests they had inhabited for centuries at the behest of those who ostensibly espoused the cause of “environment protection”, only to see those very lands, forcibly taken from them, being legally usurped and used by development proponents backed by the mighty lobbies that rule the Nation’s destiny.
By this Law-merick, Gook lends his insignificant voice to the significant one of the dwellers of the forests.
Encroachment of forests activists bemoan
And judges pen orders to omissions atone
Why not go after the miners?
Absconders,”winers and diners”?
Milords! Leave tribals and forest dwellers alone!