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The draft Indian forest bill 2019 proposes to amend the forest rights act of 2006 that was passed by the UPA government confining the eligibility to secure rights under the act to those who primarily reside in forests and who depend on forests and forest land for a livelihood. the rights mentioned here were very well bifurcated into two categories of individual and community rights and thus the locus standi of Indian laws enjoyed various encomiums until the constitutional validity of the act was challenged in 2009 by hardcore environmentalists who accused the ancient inhabitants of the woods, who’ve occupied the canopies unrestrained for over 75 years since their princely states were under zamindari reign, as the prime reason for causing destruction to nature and disequilibrium in the sustainable state of affairs.
The proposed amendment this year looks forward to empower forest bureaucracy to use fire arms with AFSPA like immunity in order to crush antagonism against state with respect to conservation ethics and acquire land for unexplained ‘public purposes‘ retrogressively using the obsolete land acquisition act of 1894, the core purpose of which remains to be a seemingly dubious mystery, almost as an ancillary of sedition.
Instead of departing from the authoritative and draconian British regime of 1927, the current government is apparently interested in building on it, granting fundamental rights to the documented schedule tribes and other traditional forest dwellers while failing to recognize the adversity such an implementation might cause dislocating an entire volley of uneducated folks who have been snapped silent with such a shocking news that the leaders of our country are all set to reduce their status from citizens to subjects by invoking a collective punishment for highly archaic, unaware and simply oriented Adivasis.
The status quo, in my opinion is a solid plot sponsored by the state to bring home a national register of Indian citizens by whittling down regions through step by step cancellation of rights of “bogus claimants” such as those lodging in the dense forests, in the backdrop of left wing extremism already prevalent in central India feeding on empty calorie promises of development and rehabilitation under the FRA. Prime minister Narendra Modi addressed the UNGA in New York recently by labeling India as the pioneer country acing the climate change resolution but the true picture of motherland rings a different bell, resonating vociferous cries of innocent tribals who cannot figure a way out as to how their dignity embellished by years of coordination with nature, can be saved through a truthful endeavor in a place characterized by political corruption and injustice.
Their age old practice of worshipping the land they inhabit, following religious and unbeknownst doctrines of preservation probably guided by Gaia hypothesis is certainly endangered and their contributions to maintaining the health of our ecosystems are being severely undermined. The assured sops to millions displaced shall never be able to bridge a communication and culture gab between the rural and the urban and an attempt to homogenise a heterogeneous society like India’s is bound to be infructuous. Furthermore, the entire episode taking place whilst the government puts a hold on the plea to enforce a green bonus for Himalayan state augurs a maverick and reckless sentiment about the spur among stakeholders.
Although the intentions of the NDA government might appear to be puritan and in favour of our country, such an abrupt legislative measure is destined to crash humanitarian peace and entice greater strife in the presently pacified lush hinterlands of our country. Moreover, concrete elucidations as to how the forest cover will be insulated against commercial exploitation should be put forth so as to build a credibility view in the eyes of critics.