Vangujjars nomadic tribe from Aasa Rodhi Range, Ramgarh, Dehradun Uttarakhand in Rajaji National Park have faced eviction threat in this rainy season by Ranger Rakesh Negi, Forester Arun Kumar and Forest Guard Yadav on 5th Aug 2018. The threatening has been given by these forest official to Vangujjar Gulam Mustafa Chopra and Noor Baksh whose ancestors are residing in these forest since last five centuries. The Ranger came without any notice and threatened the families residing in the Asarodhi range to evict within two days or otherwise face the demolition. When Gulam Mustafa asked for the eviction order from High Court the Ranger said ” you go and take the order from Director office’ We will not show you.” Gulam mustafa replied that Vangujjars too have High Court order in their favour that says that ” Until and unless the Vangujjars a nomadic tribe are not settled under the Forest Rights Act 2006 no eviction can take place.” A writ has also been filed by Gulam mustafa in Nainital High Court Writ no 998/2017 where the H’be Court has recognized the rights of the Vangujjars.
AIUFWP strongly condemns this unconstitutional act of the Forest Department that is working against the special Act of the Parliament. The vangujjar families are living in constant fear with their small children as in this rainy season if they are uprooted where will they go. The Government has till date not made any alternative arrangement and neither has implemented Forest Rights Act in its true spirit. The Government is bound to recognize the rights of the forest dwelling nomdic tribe families and it will be completely illegal to evict them with out considering the law of the land.
on 7th August 2018 the Vangujjars families along with the Union leaders had submitted the memorandum with Director Rajaji National Park to immediately stop the eviction and withdraw its staff from the forest who are constantly threatening the families without any legal document. The letter of memorandum is attached.
AIUFWP demands that no eviction should take place of Van gujjars without recognizing their Forest rights under the ” Scheduled Tribe and other Forest Dwellers ( Recognition of Forest Rights) 2006, and Nanital High Court order of 2007 and successive orders in various writ petitions by Van gujjars that they have a legal claim of forest land. Until and unless those rights are not recognized the families should not be evicted as per the sec 4(5) of FRA. If any such action is taken against the Van Gujjars the Union and the Vangujjar Gram Sabha will be forced to take action on the forest authorities u/s 7 of the FRA and will impose fine on the authorities.