Sokalo Gond elected new AIUFWP President Trailblazer promises to carry the torch for Adivasi rights to jal, jangal, zameen

04, Dec 2021 | CJP Team

Adivasi and forest rights leader Sokalo Gond was elected the new President of All India Union of Forest Working People (AIUFWP) on December 3, 2021 marking the conclusion of the 2nd National Conference of the Union.

On Friday, prominent leaders working in the field of defending forest, land and legal rights of Adivasis, other forest-dwelling communities and forest workers, came together to discuss AIUFWP’s future interventions and resolutions.

Among its four pillars of action, the land and livelihood rights of Adivasis and traditional forest dwellers, is one. CJP, with its expertise in navigating cases of human rights violations in the courts and beyond has been active on the issue; partnering with the All India Union of Forest Working Peoples (AIUFWP) since 2017 to battle any setback to these rights in the courts. This includes legally fighting back against malicious prosecution of leaders of the community and defending the Forest Rights Act, 2006 in the Supreme Court. We stand with the millions of Forest Dwellers and Adivasis whose lives and livelihoods are threatened. Please support our efforts by donating here.

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Accordingly, members also conducted elections for various post holders in the national committee. Sokalo Gond, a fearless forest rights defender who inspires women leaders across the country with her strength and courage, was elected as the President of the Union. Thanking the attendees for the same, she spoke about the impact of Covid-19 on Adivasi education and health.

“We know we need to challenge the ruling regime, and for that we need to firstly, make sure the four district members present here voice their grievances. We will show them our work to improve health and education and our next generation will get the opportunities we didn’t,” said Sokalo.

Sokalo Gond and fellow activist Nivada Rana had moved Supreme Court against its 2019 order calling for the ‘eviction’ of millions of Adivasis and forest-dwelling communities. While the apex court order was based on the Indian Forest Act 1927, Sokalo and Nivada opposed the same as an abuse of their constitutional rights. Gond and Rna’s petition was backed by CJP and AIUFWP.

Further, Sokalo Gond is also among the women forest rights defenders from Lilasi village, who stood up against police brutality in May 2018. She was illegally detained and kept behind bars along with Kismatiya Gond, for months until a sustained campaign by Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) helped their release.

Recalling the same, Sokalo earlier said, “The forest department officials used to beat us and try to gang up on us in the beginning. We had some hard times. These officials are still looting us and no one holds them accountable. However, we – especially women – will fight for our constitutional rights.”

During the inaugural event, CJP Secretary Teesta Setalvad lauded Sokalo and other women leaders, saying, “Women leaders and senior members of the Union stand at the front because this unique movement believes in being led by those struggling on-ground. CJP continues to support the people who mobilise on-ground for jal, jangal, zameen.”

The Conference ended with a passionate rendition of revolutionary songs by the Pratidhwani team led by Subhendu Ghosh.


AIUFWP’s 2nd National Conference begins

Adivasi struggle led by trailblazers working on-ground: Teesta Setalvad

AIUFWP announces second National Conference to discuss land and forest rights

Forest resource rights vs. Land rights under Forest Rights Act


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