In order to control surging Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in India, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi announced a complete country-wide lockdown for 21 days from the midnight of March, 24, 2020 and asked citizens not to come out of their houses. “Stay inside your home, stay inside your home, and do just one thing — stay inside your home,” Prime Minister Modi had said. But during the COVID19 pandemic the forest departments across India carried out at least 14 evictions in 8 states and one Union Territory (UT) namely Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jammu & Kashmir (UT), Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Odisha and Tamil Nadu. Analysis of these 14 cases of eviction by the forest departments bring out patterns of human rights violations as follows: the forest officials/guards have burnt down the houses in four eviction cases, demolished (pulled down) houses in seven cases, food grains were set on fire in one case, standing crops and/agricultural lands were damaged/destroyed in four cases and in at least three cases the victims were subjected to physical torture during eviction drives. Further in at least one case (Madhya Pradesh), civilians (non-state actors) participated in eviction drive along with forest officials and police force.
Download our briefing paper “INDIA: Forced evictions of indigenous peoples during COVID-19 pandemic” from the link given below: