People's Tribunal on Governance in Scheduled Areas in Odisha,
Organised by Indigenous People's Forum, Odisha

20-21 December 2013

Statement of Findings

We, the nine jury members, have listened for two days to the testimonies and depositions from the affected people and experts from some 30 grassroot civil society groups, communities, and different struggle groups from Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Manipur. The presentations covered the following aspects: Violations of Constitutional and Legislative provisions in Fifth Scheduled Areas, Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) (PESA) Act, 1996, Forest Rights Act (FRA), 2006, SC/ST Atrocities Act, 1989, and a violation to the Declaration of the United Nations on Indigenous Peoples Rights, 2007. The direct consequences of the violation of the above-mentioned laws emerged in the depositions in terms of Illegal acquisition of the tribal land, deprivation of the right of tribals to livelihood, dignity and identity, encounter killings, danger to tribal language and culture, pollution due to industrialisation, women's trafficking, and brutal atrocities by the state.

On the basis of the depositions, the jury makes the following observations.

There is an alarming situation of the tribals in the state of Odisha, which can be enumerated in terms of the following:

[1] Illegal acquisition of the tribal land

There is rampant grabbing of the tribal land by the state for industries in violation to the provisions of PESA, 1996 and FRA of 2006.

[2] Deprivation of the right of tribals to livelihood, dignity and identity

The fundamental right of the tribals as citizens of the country is seriously violated by depriving and denying them of their ancestral land, access to forests and minor forest produce, control over minor minerals, which is against the principles of PESA and the precedence of the Samatha Judgement of Supreme Court.

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