Tribals not allowed in ancestral forest

The Tharo tribe is indigenous to Betia area of West Champaran district in Bihar. The nearby forest, which has been the source of firewood and other natural resources for the tribe, has recently been converted into a Tiger Reserve under the Wildlife Protection Act. VV-PACS Community Correspondent Tanju Devi reports on the distress this has caused to the community whose livelihood has depended upon the forest for generations.

CALL TO ACTION: Call Mr. Abhay Kumar, District Collector for West Champaran district, on +91-9473191294, and demand that this indigenous tribe is guaranteed their rights as per the law.

The Act, amended in 2006, clearly states that “the rights of Scheduled Tribes and such other people living nearby are not interfered or adversely affected.” The locals, however say in the report that, the forest officials have made it impossible for them to live off the land ever since it was converted into the Valmiki Tiger Reserve. The locals also allege that local authorities have tried to frame the natives for cutting trees in the forest on multiple occasions.

About the Partnership: The Poorest Areas Civil Society (PACS) Programme and Video Volunteers have come together to create the Community Correspondents Network. The videos generated by the network will be able to highlight voices from the margins, providing skills to social communicators to provide advocacy tools to community based organisations.

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