Tribal, Dalit groups observe ‘Bharat Bandh’ today demanding Centre to bring ordinance to protect their rights

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NEW DELHI: The tribal and Dalit outfits across the country will observe a ‘Bharat Bandh’ on Tuesday to protest against a February 13 order by the Supreme Court that asked states to execute the eviction of all those families whose claims had been dismissed under the Forest Rights Act.

The SC order is expected to affect at least 10 lakhs tribals and other forest dwellers.

Tribal outfits have announced that they will organise a march in Delhi from Mandi House to Jantar Mantar, demanding the restoration of Forests Rights Act.

According to media reports, many Dalit groups have also decided to join the tribal outfits in their strike, in order to protest against the apex court upholding the Allahabad High Court order regarding reservations of SC/STs in the appointment of faculty members in universities.

Importantly, the top court had last week stayed the eviction order of the tribals and ordered the states to file affidavits describing the procedures under which the claims made by the Forest Dwelling Scheduled Tribes (FSDTs) and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (OTFDs) were rejected.

The states have been asked to submit their affidavits by July 10.

The tribal groups are reportedly upset with the Centre for ‘failing’ to defend the community’s rights in the court. They have now demanded that the NDA government should bring forth an Ordinance to safeguard their rights, as per the Forest Rights Act.

Tribals in states like Gujarat, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and other states in Northeast will join Tuesday’s peaceful bandh.


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