New Delhi: Protesting against a Supreme Court order that threatens to impact over 10 lakh tribals and other forest dwellers of the country, tribal outfits have called for a Bharat bandh on Tuesday. (Also read: Traders’ Body Holds Bandh to Protest Against Pulwama Terror Attack)
In its February 13 order, the apex court had ordered the eviction of families whose claims had been rejected under the Forest Rights Act.
However, last week the Supreme Court stayed the eviction order and directed the states to file affidavits detailing the procedure adopted while rejecting the claims made by the Forest Dwelling Scheduled Tribes (FDSTs) and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (OTFDs). The states have till July 10 to file their affidavits. Yet, the tribal bodies see it as a temporary measure and feel threatened in the absence of a law to protect them.
The bandh call has been given by tribal outfits in states like Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, and the north-east. They are demanding an ordinance to be brought in by the Centre to ensure that their rights are protected.
In the national capital, a march would be organised from Mandi House to Jantar Mantar to demand the restoration of the Forests Rights Act. Despite a Supreme Court stay, the tribal community is upset over how “the whims of government officials” have brought them to the brink of eviction.
To drive home their point, the tribal outfits would be joined by Dalit groups who will protest against the apex court upholding an Allahabad High Court order over reservation of SC/STs in the appointment of faculty members in universities. Recently, the apex court junked the Centre’s plea seeking review of its January verdict.
The Supreme Court had said reservation in faculty positions in universities should be calculated department-wise and not by taking the total seats in a university. The immediate effect of the Supreme Court verdict will be a drastic drop in the number of SC, ST and OBC teachers in universities, said reports.
Meanwhile, Adivasi Adhikar Andolan, All India Ambedkar Mahasabha and Samvidhan Bachao Sangharsh Samiti are among the groups which have called for the bandh. Political parties like the Congress, RJD, SP, AAP and Sharad Yadav’s have supported the movement.