Bhopal: The tribal residents of Burhanpur’s Siwal village alleged that the forest officials not only burnt a mud house of a resident on Monday morning, but also threatened to burn more in coming days and said he “will not allow” them to sow seeds for the crops.
In a complaint to the Nepanagar police station, the villagers claimed that the forest official burnt down the mud house of 45-year-old Sildar around 1 pm on Monday in view of an eviction drive. However, Sildar possesses proof of residence and agricultural land under Forest Right Act, 2006 and has been living in the village for the last 40 years.
In a police complaint, villagers further claimed that when they contacted the Forest Ranger Dinesh Vaskole over the issue, he threatened saying ‘Abhi to bas ek jalaya hai, sare tapre uraye ge abhi. Abhi tujhe bone bhi nahi duga. Tu tension mat le, sb ura duga agli baar phir wapis aauga to. (Currently, I have only burnt one; I will remove all mud houses from there in the coming days. Will not let you sow the crop, don’t worry. Will remove everything when I visit the next time.)’
Similar incident was reported on July 9, last year in the same village, when forest officials went to the village to vacate the “encroached” agriculture land and allegedly began ruining the standing crop. When villagers resisted, the officials reportedly opened fire in the Siwal village. The incident left four tribals injured. After criticism, then Congress CM Kamal Nath had promised action.
“Under section 4(5) of the Forest Right Act, no one can be evicted from the land till the documents and claims are under observation,” said a member of Jaagrit Dalit Aadivasi Sanghatan, Nitin, who works the community.
“Besides, the state government in an order dated May 1, 2019 had clarified that until the documentation drive of Van Mitra App was not completed, no department will take any action against anyone on this issue. But, the Burhanpur forest officials are not only violating the Forest Right Act, but also undermining the state government’s order. ” Nitin added.
The villagers have demanded action against the forest officials for burning the mud house of a tribal under Sections 3(1)(V), 3(2)(iii) and 3(2)(iv) of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
They also urged the Nepanagar police to register an FIR against Forest Ranger Dinesh Vaskole for threatening and burning houses.
Commenting over the issue, Burhanpur collector Praveen Singh Adhayach said, “I have sought a report from SDM Visha Madhwani over the incident and will take further action based on the findings of the report.”
Meanwhile, Town Inspector, Nepanagar, Muvel said, “The villages have given a written complaint over the burning of their mud house, but no FIR has been registered till date.”