Uttarakhand HC orders on Van Gujjars "violate" Forest Rights Act: Activist

Commenting on the Uttarakhand High Court's orders (click here and here) about eviction of Van Gujjars, which were issued on August 2 and August 16, Neema Pathak Broome of the Theme on Conservation and Livelihoods, Kalpavriksh, Pune, says the orders completely ignore Forest Rights Act (FRA). Worse, she regrets, the orders ignore even the earlier administrative process, which themselves are in violation of FRA, by the forest department towards relocation of Van Gujjars.
"The court blaming the Chief Secretary and the Forest Officials for talking about a rehabilitation policy instead of evicting the Van Gujjars. It has already decided that these are encroachers and not the people whose rights have been recognised under the FRA. The language of the Court is shocking", says Broome.
"Not only is it asking for evictions but also instructs the District Magistrates across the state to prohibit people from organising dharnas and rallies against the Court's order. Instead of upholding justice, the Court is making a mockery of that too in a most dictatorial manner" adds,pointing out, one of the judges was "earlier in Himachal Pradesh High Court and had passed similar orders on encroachment evictions."

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