New Delhi, Feb 26 : Close on the decision of the RSS affiliate Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram (VKA) taking a strong stance against the Supreme Court on 'eviction' of tribals, BJP president Amit Shah has announced that all states ruled by his party will file a review petition in the Supreme Court of its order that seeks to evict at least 10 lakh tribals.
"I have spoken to all Chief Ministers of BJP-ruled states on the situation arising out of the Supreme Court's order on eviction of tribals living in Forest areas. States will be soon filing review petition and steps will be taken to safeguard the rights of tribals and prevent eviction," Mr Shah said in a tweet.
The BJP remains committed to the uplift of "our tribal brothers and sisters" and will do everything to protect their rights, he said. The Supreme Court had on February 13 ordered the chief secretaries of 17 states to evict an estimated one million tribal and other households whose claims of the right to live in forests under the Forest Rights Act 2006 were rejected on various grounds.
BJP chief also issued a statement and flayed opposition parties and urged tribal people "not to fall in the trap of rumours from usual suspects".
He said that what the Modi government has done for the welfare of tribal people during its rule of 55 months the previous Congress dispensations could not do in 55 years. Mr Shah cited the rise in budgetary allocations for the tribal ministry and the government's thrust on the skill development of tribal population. The Supreme Court has asked 21 states to apprise it about the action taken by them.
The next date of hearing is set for July 27 – the effective date by when states will have to evict tribals to comply with the court orders. In case the eviction is not carried out, the matter will be viewed seriously by this court, the order from the three-member bench comprising Justice Arun Mishra, Justice Navin Sinha and Justice Indira Banerjee has said.
Opposition parties have said that the order from the top court came after the Centre failed to defend their rights under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006.
The Act was passed during the Congress-led UPA's first tenure in 2006, requires the government to hand back traditional forest lands to indigenous and other forest-dwellers. Congress president Rahul Gandhi has also announced a similar step by his party Chief Ministers.
“The recent order of the Supreme Court deserves your urgent intervention. The court has directed state governments to evict tribals and other forest dwellers whose claims under the Forest Rights Act were rejected,” Mr Gandhi wrote to Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Bhagel.
He also reportedly sent similar letters to chief ministers of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, the other two Congress-ruled states having a sizeable population of tribals and forest dwellers.
The RSS-affiliate Vanavasi Kalyan Ashram has said, “The Central government should either bring out an ordinance or it should file a review petition to ensure that a stay order is secured against action on those whose claims have been rejected. Then later it can think of a permanent solution.”UNI