Rahul Gandhi has written to Congress Chief Ministers to file petitions asking the Supreme Court to review an order asking state governments to evict tribals whose claims to forest land were rejected.
The Supreme Court order "deserves your urgent intervention", wrote the Congress president in the letter sent on the weekend to Kamal Nath and Bhupesh Baghel, the Chief Ministers of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. "The court has directed state governments to evict tribals and other forest dwellers whose claims under the Forest Rights Act were rejected," he said.
"To preempt large scale evictions" it would be "expedient to file a review petition" and "take any other action", Rahul Gandhi wrote to the Chief Ministers.
"For millions of adivasis and other forest dwellers Jal, Jangal and Zameen is integral to their Right to Life guaranteed by our Constitution. It is time for us to work towards deepening the promise of India for everyone," Rahul Gandhi said.
He referred to a status report of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs on the implementation of the Forest Rights Act, which highlighted that less than 45 per cent of the Individual Forest Rights and 50 per cent of the Community Forest Rights claims were approved in 2018," he said.
Rahul Gandhi wrote that the ministry had also pointed out that forest staff often raised ''frivolous'' objections leading to rejection.
On February 13, the Supreme Court ordered the eviction of lakhs of tribals and other forest dwellers and asked state chief secretaries to report on whether those whose claims to forest land were rejected had been evicted and if not, then why.
A week later, the court asked 21 states to inform what action had been taken by them on the evictions.