India Supreme Court Evicts Millions Of Marginalized Peoples From Indigenous Lands
Last month, India’s Supreme Court ordered state governments to evict over a million indigenous people from forested lands in the country. The case centered on the Forest Rights Act, passed in 2006, that attempted to legitimize indigenous claims to their traditional lands. Wildlife conservation groups challenged the act in court, arguing that it would green-light further encroachment on already-damaged forestlands. When the case was heard in the Supreme Court, the central government failed to present lawyers to defend its own law. Indigenous rights groups have come out against the decision. An opposition leader argued that, by acting as a “silent spectator” rather than defending the Forest Rights Act in court, the ruling “is indicating its intentions to drive out lakhs of tribals and poor farmers from the forests.” Global indigenous rights organization Survival International has opposed the decision, calling it “the biggest eviction in the name of conservation, ever.” Joining us to discuss the decision is senior researcher and campaigner Sophie Grig.