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National Convention Against Illegal Grabbing of Forests and Forest Lands – May 4th, 2016

Indian Social Institute, New Delhi

Dear friends,

As you know, across the country, the Central and State governments are engaged in a massive, illegal takeover of forest land, often in connivance with big private companies. This giant land grab is resulting in the impoverishment and illegal displacement of lakhs of people, and the loss of livelihood for many more. Some forms of this illegal land grab include:

  • Diversion of forest land without recognising forest rights and without taking the consent of gram sabhas, or forging gram sabha resolutions giving consent, despite the requirements of the Forest Rights Act.

  • Continuous sabotage of rights recognition under the Forest Rights Act and denial of recognition for both individual and community rights.

  • Use of para military forces to arrest, terrorise and kill those resisting take over of their lands and forests.

  • Declaration of new reserved forests, protected areas and other state-controlled forests without respecting either prior forest laws or the Forest Rights Act. Forced relocation of people from tiger reserves in violation of the Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Act, 2006, and the Forest Rights Act.

  • State governments acquiring land without respecting the requirements of the Land Acquisition Act, 2013, the Forest Rights Act or the PESA Act.

  • State governments, such as Gujarat, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and others, amending their laws or planning to amend their laws to bypass consent when acquiring land for projects.

All of these steps have the same basic objective: grabbing of resources without respecting the powers of the gram sabha and people’s democratic rights. The intent is always the same – to autocratically seize people’s lands and resources for the eventual benefit of private capital.

To oppose this brutal and criminal attack on the rights of the people and on the natural environment, a national convention will be held on May 4th in New Delhi.
In this national convention, representatives from at least ten States will be attending, discussing the struggles in their States and their plans for ongoing protests. In the run up to the Convention, mass protests have already been held in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and other States raising these issues.

We hope you will be able to join us at this important convention. The convention will be held at the Indian Social Institute, Lodhi Road, New Delhi. The convention will begin at 1030 am.