A decade after the passing of the Forest Rights Act, the book by indigenous rights activits Gladson Dungdung “Adivasi and Forest Rights: Grassroots reality of Forest rights in Jharkhand” documents how government agencies, industry lobby and even the Naxal insurgentes have worked deliberately against the implementation of the Forest Rights Act of 2006.
The Forest Rights Act was expected to undo historial injustice for indigenous peoples of India. Instead, in many states, such as Jharkhand, Chattisgarth, and Orissa, indigenous communities are increasingly losing their land to extractive industries while being left out of the benefits of India´s economic growth.
The village of Dubil is situated inside the Saranda Forest. It is one of thousands of indigenous communities affected by mining. Its rice fields are being destroyed from the dust that comes from the mining site above the village, one important watersourse has dried out, and the health of villagers is affected by the pollution from the mining site.
The core demand of Adivasis from the Saranda Forest Region is the implementation of their rights to land as recognised in the Forest Rights Act of 2006. They have claimed entitlement papers (pattas) to be issued for 8-10 acres of land, but has so far only been granted 15-25 decimal of land by the Jharkhand Government.
“How can one expect a family to survive with 25 decimal of land in the forest?”, indigenous rights activitst Gladson Dungdung asked at a mass meeting on land rights, which attracted more than a thousand people living within the Saranda Forest on September 23, 2016.
The indigenous movement is mobilising to fight for the protection of their right to the land and improvement of their livelihood through awareness raising of both adivasi communities and mainstream society.
An activist that inspires communities
Gladson Dungdung is a Human Rights Activist, Author, Researcher, Public speaker and motivator. He comes from the Kharia Adivasi community of Jharkhand. He motivating the indigenous communities to come together and fight for their rights.
In 2015, Gladson Dungdung’s book, Mission Saranda: A War for Natural Resources India – together with campaigning (protests, rallies, written statements, and the organisation of the visit of the national human rights commission) gained the attention of the local government, which afterwards provided increased security against maoist insurgents as well as roads, electricity, drinking water, primary education and food support.
For a review of the book visit: www.countercurrents.org