INDIA - Evicting 1 Million Indigenous People

Arno Froese

India’s Supreme Court has ordered its government to evict a million people from their homes—for the good of the country’s wildlife.

With more than 700 tribal groups, India is home to over 100 million indigenous people. While the forest land is legally controlled by the government, people have lived in such areas for centuries.

A landmark law passed in 2006 gave legal rights over forest land and its produce to tribes and forest-dwelling communities provided they could prove their families have stayed there for at least three generations.

The battle for mineral-rich forest land isn’t new in India. The ruling is the latest flash point in the competing interests of industry, wildlife conservationists and forest communities.

In the past 30 years, the government has diverted 5,400 square miles of forest land, the size of Connecticut, for industrial projects—many of which were opposed by the indigenous people. Wildlife groups contend that granting “wide-ranging” rights to people on forest land leads to fragmentation of forests at a time when the country’s forest cover is shrinking. Critics, however, say that neither accounts for the rights of the indigenous people who rely on the forest for daily needs and for their livelihood.

Now the court says that those whose claims were rejected must go—by July 27. The number of affected people is estimated to reach up to 1.89 million when more states comply with the order.

Human rights groups and activists were stunned by the ruling. Nicholas Dawes, the acting managing director of Human Rights Watch, wrote that it had “staggering” implications for India’s most marginalized., 22 February 2019

Arno's commentary

India represents the world’s largest democracy, with a land mass almost the size of the USA. It has a population of 1.3 billion people: 80% Hindu, 14.1% Muslim, and about 2.3% Christian. With these numbers, the over one million indigenous figure is relatively small. It is most likely they will lose their homes in the end. According to the CIA Factbook, India’s economic growth stood at 6.7% for the year 2017.

Doubtless, India has a people problem, which some experts declare will be solved in the not-too-distant future. India is destined to become a world power.

This is a country that Christians should have on their prayer list. With only 2.3% of the population being nominally Christian, this is a gigantic mission field that should be targeted by more ministries.

Rev. John Ismael, the executive director of Revival Literature Fellowship, is one ministry Midnight Call supports and recommends in India. You may receive his always very inspiring email newsletter by contacting him at:

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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