In a recent letter to the Chief Ministers of the states inhabited by a large number of tribal population, Tribal Affairs Minister V Kishore Chandra Deo has asked them to give "signals to authorities concerned" for adhering to the laws meant for bringing succor to the forest dwellers.
"If a clear signal is given to implementing authorities that all rights of forest dwellers must be adhered to and the democratic process under this law must be respected, the forest dwellers may finally find succor and could actually lay claim to their rights," Deo stated in the letter.
The letter has been addressed to CMs of all North-Eastern states and other ones with a sizeable tribal population such as Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Odisha and Himachal Pradesh.
Listing out the issues faced by tribal populace, Deo said, "The legislation lamentably has not as such benefited majority of forest dwellers and tribals even after lapse of more than five years of enactment of the FRA."
In particular, rejection rates for claim for rights are still very high and these rejected claimants are not informed about the reasons or given an opportunity to appeal, it added.
Deo said that as a result of the situation, "a large number of forest dwellers are facing eviction or harassment by forest authorities.
Many of them have also been illegally displaced from forest land without respect for their rights or due process of law." (MORE)