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Tribals and forest officials clash: Cong leaders seek action

PTI | Bhopal | Updated: 13-07-2019 17:32 IST | Created: 13-07-2019 17:32 IST
Tribals and forest officials clash: Cong leaders seek action

Senior Congress leaders Digvijay Singh and Jyotiradiya Scindia Saturday appealed to their party colleague and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath to take action against officials concerned for allegedly using pellet guns to evict tribal farmers in Burhanpur district on July 9. The Siwal village incident drew attention of senior Congress leaders after party MLA, Hiralal Alawa, wrote a letter to the chief minister seeking action.

"The development of tribal and protection of their rights are the priority of the Congress government under Kamal Nath's leadership. The incident (of Burhanpur district) is against the declared policy of the current government. This is condemnable and government should take immediate action against the guilty officers," Singh tweeted and tagged Alawa's letter. Immediately after Singh's tweet, Scindia also commented on the issue through his official twitter account.

"Progress and welfare of the tribal population is the priority of the MP Government. The unfortunate incident in Burhanpur is condemnable. I request the Chief Minister to investigate the case in a transparent and unbiased manner and take strict action against the guilty officers," he tweeted. According to Alawa, who represents Kukshi seat, at least four farmers were injured in the incident.

"The victims were producing the documents of tribal rights as old as 1988-89, but a forest team continued to terrorise the tribals," Alawa said. He said the victims were claimant of land under the Forest Rights Act.

The Congress MLA further said if Forest department had any objection against forest rights of these tribals, it should have filed an appeal before Gram Sabha concerned but "instead of taking the legal recourse the Forest team attempted to dislodge them by force". He said the state government had already started the process to review the pending and dismissed cases of tribal rights (Forest Rights Act).

Meanwhile, Burhanpur superintendent of police Ajay Singh told PTI Saturday that a magisterial inquiry has been ordered into the incident. He said cross FIRs were registered on complaints of villagers and the Forest department.

"A magisterial inquiry has been ordered, which will be conducted by Additional District Magistrate (ADM). Further investigation is underway," Singh said. The SP the incident occurred Tuesday night after a team of forest personnel reached Siwal village for doing a plantation work on a forest land.

"After the forest team reached the spot, villagers claimed that the land belonged to them and started hurling stones, forcing them (forest personnel) to use twelve-bore guns in self-defence," the police officer said, adding that some persons sustained injuries due to pellets, and were admitted to hospital. Further investigation is underway..


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