Hundreds of Jenu Kuruba people have launched an indefinite protest in the Nagarhole National Park, India, to demand that the authorities stop trying to evict them, and recognize their rights to the forest.
The tribe, renowned for their honey-gathering skills, are camped outside the Nagarhole Forest Rangers’ office. Their lands have been turned into a tiger reserve for tourists, and many Jenu Kuruba have already been forcibly evicted by India’s Forest Department, with the backing of the Wildlife Conservation Society.
According to India’s Forest Rights Act (FRA), the tribe has rights to live in, “protect” and “conserve” their lands. The Jenu Kuruba’s rights to their lands should have been recognized many years ago – they first submitted their claims in 2009. But like many tribes across the country, their claims have been ignored.
J.K. Thimma, a Jenu Kuruba leader from Nagarhole, said today: “We Adivasi [tribal] people know how to take care of the forest and animals and we can do this much better than them. This is what we should fight for. We want the Forest Department to leave and hand over the forest to us, we will take care of the forest.”
The whole article was published by Survival on March 22, 2021.