The issue of eviction of more than one million tribals and forest dwellers across the country has to be seen “compassionately”, Union Minister Harsh Vardhan said Saturday.
“The issue has to be seen quite compassionately”, Union Minister for Environment and Forest Harsh Vardhan said in a guarded response to the Supreme Court seeking an action report from 21 states on eviction of tribals.
He, however, did not elaborate, saying he had not read the February 13 judgment and came to know about it only through the media. “So I am not able to comment on it,” Harsh Vardhan told reporters in Kochi. He was here to inaugurate the Centre for Marine Living Resources and Ecology (CMLRE), attached to the Ministry of Earth Sciences.
The apex court had directed 21 states to apprise it about the action taken by them over the eviction of tribals and forest dwellers whose claim for the forest land have been rejected. The top court, in its order, has asked the chief secretaries of the states concerned to file affidavits stating whether those against whom the rejection orders were passed, have been evicted or not and if not, the reasons for the same.
A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra was dealing with a batch of petitions on the issue that were filed in the apex court over a period since 2006.
The states, which have come under the scanner of the top court, included Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Telangana.