Members of Iruliga tribe living at Gollaradoddi village in Ramanagara district in Karnataka have been denied pattas (title deeds) under Forest Rights Act and other basic facilities/amenities. For the last 200 days, 16 Iruliga tribal families who were evicted from the Handi Gundi Forest in Ramanagara have been protesting demanding land rights in the forest under the provisions of the Forest Rights Act, 2006 (FRA).
Evicted in 1992, still not resettled
The members of Iruliga tribe living at Gollaradoddi village presently had been evicted from the forest in 1992 and since then they have been living in makeshift sheds in a government-granted plot at Gollaradoddi village adjoining the forest, with no basic civic amenities.
The makeshift sheds not have basic civic amenities like toilets, water facility etc. The government has not provided them any space for construction of toilets and bathrooms. The lands surrounding their temporary sheds belong to other communities. The tribals are forced to use the forest land of others for ablution every day and they were cursed, chased away and humiliated by the owners of the forest land.
The tribal children are not able to receive education due to lack of schools.
The displaced tribals do not have any means of livelihood. Most of them are now forced to work as manual labourers and go place to place in search of jobs.
Denial of pattas under FRA
The applications for pattas (title deeds) under Forest Rights Act of 2006 submitted by the tribals of Gollaradoddi village were rejected on flimsy grounds by the forest department. This is despite the fact that the tribals have submitted at least six documents to back up their claims under FRA: A grinding stone in the forest, graves, temples, indicators of land cultivation, elders’ statements and a note by the then tahsildar in the 1990s, attesting their residence in the area.
Members of these 16 Iruliga tribal families have been protesting for more than 200 days demanding land rights and dignity for themselves and future generation.
The Indigenous Rights Advocacy Centre (IRAC) has filed a complaint against denial of their rights. In its petition before the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), IRAC sought the immediate intervention of the Commission to direct the state government of Karnataka to properly resettle and rehabilitate all the 16 tribal families who had been forcibly evicted from Handi Gundi Forest in Ramanagara district in 1990s, including housing, water, sanitation, roads and schools, etc and provide NREGS cards, voter cards, Aadhaar cards, health insurance, among others.