Home Page

  Communalism Combat

  India Rights & Wrongs







  Action Alerts




  Resources for



  About us


  Contact Us


  Sabrang Team













September 17, 2007

Adivasis of Gujarat brutally attacked by forest and police officials
Crops destroyed and tribal leaders indulged in criminal offences


Protest Rally on 17th September, at Surat


Friends, more than 250 forest officials and local police along with talluka magistrate (Mamledar) armed with weapons have entered into the cultivated forest land and destroyed about 200 acres out of three thousand acres of their standing crops in Ummarpada talluka of district Surat, on 5th September. Forrest officials have started their operation at 7am in the morning without informing the villagers. When the local leaders of Lok Sangharsh Morcha have tried to intervene and making dialogue with the officers they have opened fire and used tear gas, too. About 3 thousand villagers of nearest villages, who have quickly reached over there for saving their crops, protested this unlawful act of forest department. The estimate of damaged crops is being evaluated about 25-30 lakhs rupees. The police action was led by Mr. S. N. Patel; DFO of Ummarpada & Sagabara rang. Police has lodged the criminal case against 58 tribal leaders under section 307, 395, 397, 398, 186, 332, 333, 435, 427, 353, BP act 135.


The victims are displaced of Ukai Dam project belonging to the 16 villages of Talluka. They are residing in this area since 1971 after their displacement and continuously cultivating land since then. They have submitted their claim to the district magistrate of Surat and forest officials several times demanding their legal rights over the possessive land. But nobody has taken response for resolving the issue. Tribal of this area were never objected or served any notice/ warning by forest department against their longstanding cultivation ever before. The tribal of this area who had earlier fought for the enactment of forest law, 2006, demanded for legal right over their land, forest department has started the move to dispossess them from their land.


Significantly, the tribal of this area are having no access for any means of livelihood except the small holding of land which is in possession since long without the legal right. Due to the lack of recourses lakhs of unemployed youth are forced to migrate from this area for their livelihood every year. Surat district is among those which are uncovered by NREGA despite of having the huge number of laborers in rural areas. People of this area are deprived from educational rights and health facilities, too.


While, the forest department and local administration have initiated the move for dispossessing tribals from their own land at huge level, the Chief Minister of Gujarat is making announcement for tribal welfare under his "Ban Bandhu Yojana" and declaring for development packages looking at coming assembly elections have been proved futile after Umarpada incident and exposed the attitude of state government.  


Protest Rally on 17th September at Surat


Lok Sangharsh Morcha is holding a massive tribal rally on 17th September, 2007 protesting the brutal attack on tribal by forest department and local police in Ummarpada, talluka, district Surat. About 20 thousand tribal are expected to join the rally demanding immediate expulsion of DFO Mr. S. N. Patel, action against other responsible officials, withdrawal of false criminal cases lodged on tribal leaders, compensation for damaged crops, legal rights of tribal over the land, free from police terror in the effected area etc. Rally will also raise the issue of abdication done by central government denying the enforcement of 'forest act, 2006' enacted by Parliament.


It is requested to all of you kindly send the fax massage to Chief Minister of Gujarat protesting dispossession of tribal from their land . Fax no. is 079-23222101, 23222020


We feel highly obliged if you pl. ensure your participation in SURAT RALLY on 17th, September, 2007.


Thanking you,

With regards,

Ambarish Rai/ Pratibha Shinde


Lok Sangharsh Morcha