[Has worked as an investigative reporter for The New Indian Express from November 2009 to April 2011. We thank him for allowing us to re-publish excerpts from his articles. His articles and photo essays can be accessed on http://moonchasing.wordpress.com]
Flaming Forests of Warrangal, IDP Settlements
Javid Iqbal in his article “The Migrating forests of Warrangal” highlights the the conditions of the IDPs who constantly face the threat of losing their make shift home and livelihood. Reports regarding the IDP population on the borders of Andhra Pradesh and Chattisgarh have always varied. While some activists report that around 50,000 people have been affected by this conflict; people undertaking survey would argue 213 settlements in Khammam district itself have been affected. While the reports of floating populations is true Javid Iqbal also draws our attention to the fact that the fear and threat from Salwa Judum and the Maoists is not the only reason of forced movement of population; but also lack of land, as many Murias had small holdings of land in their villages in Dantewada or Bijapur. The control over resources, particularly rights of communities over forests has become a contentious issue. While land is being used for industrial purposes in Chattisgarh, mining is rampant in Khammam, and finally, over 276 villages in Khammam, East and West Godavari districts, would be submerged due to Polavaram dam along with over 10,000 acres of reserve forest land. These concerns has its far reaching implications and as Javid Iqbal in his photo essays and articles ( links given below) on the IDP situation in Andhra Pradesh and Chattishgarh shows that the rising number of floating population has also led to starvation deaths due to drought in the region. While the Government continues to see this geographical region as the site of internal conflict people are forced to flee homes. It is time that the state should take a note at the larger issue/s over access and control over community resources in these regions instead of guising problems under the umbrella of internal conflict.
For details see
Iqbal, J. 2011. The Migrating Forests of Warangal”.
IDP children refused treatment by Nutrition and Rehabilitation Center in Badrachalam, Khammam District in Andhra Pradesh
Javid Iqbal in his article “Internally Displaced Hunger” reports of an incident in 2010 when 8 malnurioushed children were refused treatment by the Nutrition and Rehabilitation Center in Badrachalam, Khammam District in Andhra Pradesh. All eight were children of Internally Displaced Persons from Dantewada/Bijapur District of Chhattisgarh. Apparently the parents of the children failed to provide documentation that were from Tribal and BPL families. As Javed (2010) emphasises, “The Internally displaced persons from Chhattisgarh are in perpetual limbo. They’re occasionally pitted against the local adivasi tribes of Andhra Pradesh over minimal resources and no state government whether Andhra Pradesh, nor Chhattisgarh is willing to take responsibility for them. At the same time, no civil government department is capable of undermining the arm-twisting policies of the Andhra Pradesh Forest Department that wishes to send them back to Chhattisgarh, who would probably dump them in mismanaged Salwa Judum camps”.
For details see
Iqbal, J. 2010. “Internally displaced Hunger”