The Jharkhand Adivasi Sangharsh Morcha (JASM) recently announced a substantial endeavour to advocate for tribal populations’ rights in the state. The ‘Abua Bir Dishom’ (Our Forest, Our Land) campaign will begin on November 6 with a rally in Ranchi and will run until November 15. The major goal of this statewide effort is to put pressure on the government to enforce the Forest Rights Act of 2006, which ensures that tribal groups living in forest areas receive forest leasing rights.
Dayamani Barla, a major person within JASM, is leading the fight, emphasising the critical need for proper implementation of the Forest Rights Act. The campaign’s actions will culminate in the submission of a memorandum to the governor expressing the indigenous groups’ demands and concerns.
The incorrect implementation of the Forest Rights Act in Jharkhand is one of the key concerns to be addressed during the campaign. According to Barla, only 1.5 lakh of the 8 lakh petitions for forest lease rights have been approved. Furthermore, she emphasised that many of the granted applications are incomplete or erroneous, demonstrating the structural problems that tribal people confront in obtaining recognition of their rights.
Aside from the Forest Rights Act, the campaign will focus on broader issues such as land acquisition, displacement, and environmental damage caused by numerous development projects in the state. Barla argued vehemently that indigenous tribes had long coexisted peacefully with nature, functioning as custodians of forest resources. However, she bemoaned the government’s refusal to recognise their rights and interests, accusing authorities of prioritising corporate and mining interests over indigenous people’s well-being.
The ‘Abua Bir Dishom’ campaign, according to Barla, works as a mobilising force, motivating tribal communities to stand up for their rights and reject any attempts to intrude on their territory and resources. JASM’s collective effort is to raise awareness, develop unity, and ultimately ensure that indigenous people’s opinions and rights are heard and respected.