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SC order on forest evictions: After Congress, BJP takes up cause of those affected by ruling

On Monday, BJP president Amit Shah spoke to CMs of all BJP-governed states and directed them to file a review petition.

Supreme Court, SC forest land order, tribals land, tribals land eviction, Rahul gandhi, Amit shah, indian express news, latest news Sources in the party said Amit Shah has spoken to CMs of NDA-governed states in the Northeast, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh.

Two days after Congress president Rahul Gandhi asked chief ministers of Congress-governed states to file a review petition in Supreme Court against the top court’s order seeking eviction of people from tribal and forest-dwelling communities, whose claim for forest land have been rejected, the BJP and the RSS have swung into action.

On Monday, BJP president Amit Shah spoke to CMs of all BJP-governed states and directed them to file a review petition.

This comes a day after Akhil Bharatiya Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram (ABVKA), the RSS’s tribal wing, passed a resolution demanding the Central government’s intervention into the matter through either an ordinance or a review petition.

In successive tweets on Monday, Shah stated, “I have spoken to all CMs of BJP ruled states in the situation arising out of Supreme Court’s order on eviction of Tribals living in Forest Areas. The states will be soon filing review petition and care will be taken to safeguard the rights of our tribals and prevent eviction…. I would also urge them (forest-dwellers) not to fall in the trap of rumours from usual suspects.”

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Sources in the party said Shah has spoken to CMs of NDA-governed states in the Northeast, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh.

On Monday, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat governments directed their officials to file a review petition.

On February 13, the apex court asked chief secretaries of the states concerned to file affidavits stating whether people against whom rejection orders were passed have been evicted, and if not, to state the reasons. On February 20, the court ordered 21 states to inform it on action taken over the eviction.

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Bid to keep key votes in states BJP pocketed in 2014

An initiative from the BJP became inevitable after Congress president Rahul Gandhi had already instructed states where his party leads the government to file a review petition against the SC order, and also because the RSS had put pressure on the BJP to act. Tribal votes are crucial for the BJP and had helped its near clean sweep in 2014 in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Jharkhand. But an angry tribal lot would be a problem not only for the BJP’s poll plank ‘Sabka saath sabka vikas’ in the upcoming General Election but also for the party’s prospects in Assembly elections later this year in Jharkhand and Maharashtra.

In a statement, ABVKA joint-general secretary Vishnu Kant said, “A resolution was adopted in the kendriya karyakari mandal of ABVKA in its meeting held at Satna on February 24… Underlining the fact that MoTA (Ministry of Tribal Affairs), the designated nodal agency for implementing FRA (Forest Rights Act), 2006, was not taken on board, resulting in failure to bring all facts relating to status of claims…. This ultimately became the reason and base of apex court’s order lethal and injustice for millions of innocent STs and OTFDs.”

The resolution also asked states to speed up the process of recognising community forest rights and clear pending claims at earliest.

On the government’s silence on the February 13 order, which will affect nearly 1 crore people, the RSS wing stated, “Even after two weeks of the order, no statement has come from the government on this matter. Because of that, anger and panic is prevailing among tribal community…”

First published on: 26-02-2019 at 02:04:40 am
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