Shimla: Tirbal women in Kinnaur, led by Himachal Kisan Sabha, marched into forestlands with wood cutting tools and lopped tree branches to assert local rights for gathering fuel woods in jungles.
There was no law and order issue because under forest laws, local people are allowed to lop the lower one-third of a tree in un-demarcated protected forests (UDF), said Yashbir Pathania, the district police suprintendent..
About 250 protesters in the presence of police and forest officials undertook a symbolic lopping of trees in Nichar sub-division and the forests personnel present on the spot have held that no violation of forest laws took place, he added.
The government has even presented a wrong picture before the courts. The people, mainly women, by openly defying the government and entering the forests are only trying to assert their age old rights that have been usurped,â€ said Panwar.
HKS holds that the courts have only banned TD rights for timber meant for construction activity, but the government has promulgated a complete moratorium on the people rights like grazing, and gathering of fuel and fodder.
Whenever people enter forests to gather fuel wood or fodder, the forest guards confiscate their tools and impose heavy fines, alleged Panwar.
â€œIf the government does not prepare a policy to restore the rights of the people, the people would be forced to snatch them, he said.