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Eviction of vulnerable communities by labelling them ‘encroachers’ condemned

Statesman News Service | Shimla |

The Himachal Van Adhikar Manch has condemned the illegal manner in which many vulnerable communities are being evicted from their lands by labelling them as ‘encroachers.’

The Himachal Van Adhikar Manch is a platform of groups and activists demanding and working on the implementation of the Forest Rights Act 2006 in Himachal Pradesh.

The organization has condemned the latest incident of death of a Dalit, Kundan Singh, son of Rulia, from Salamatpur, Paonta Sahib (Sirmaur) after his family faced forced eviction from their home and land.

Himachal Van Adhikar Manch, convenor Akshay Jasrotia said that according to Kundan Singh’s youngest son, Rajesh Kumar, “The eviction took place on last December 27, when the forest officials came to remove the dwelling by force. Kundan was ill and lying on his bed and his thumb print was taken on the papers by force. Within hours of the incident Kundan passed away”.

“According to his widow Darshini Devi, they were living in the village, since several decades ago and the common village land under the category forests was given to them to reside by the village by passing a common resolution. Since he and his family were on a hand to mouth existence he used to cultivate some of the land around his dwelling for subsistence purposes,” he said.

The State Government needs to take immediate action against the responsible official and provide relief to Kundan’s family and needs to ensure that there is no repeat of this kind of instance, demanded the Manch.