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Forest Rights Act

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As the JK Admin is uprooting its “first line of defense” from Kashmir’s forests, the anxiety of enforced homelessness is gripping nomads as evictions have threatened their centuries-old way of life. Inside his dank dwelling, an old-fashioned mud-and-stone house, in district Anantnag’s Kokernag forest area, a sun-tanned nomad is awaiting his worst nightmare to come true. Haji Mumtaz Khatana, a 52-year-old Gujjar is becoming restless, as a torrent of eviction drives and growing cries over…

As the administration in Jammu and Kashmir starts its eviction drives to push the Gujjar and Bakwerwals out of their traditional homes, local and international law binds the government against it. But what is the way forward for these communities?  The Forest Rights Act of 2006 recognises the rights of Forest Dwelling Scheduled Tribes (FDST), and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (OTFD), to forest lands and produce except timber. The law is informed by the understanding…