Face of evicted tribal woman projected onto Indian embassy in Berlin – as Modi arrives for G20

Survival protested for tribal peoples' rights at the Indian embassy in Berlin
Survival protested for tribal peoples' rights at the Indian embassy in Berlin
© Survival

Survival International campaigners have projected the face of an Indian tribal woman who was illegally evicted from her ancestral land onto the Indian embassy in Berlin. This is to send a message to the Indian government about the eviction of tribal peoples from tiger reserves in the name of conservation.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is due to arrive in Germany today, ahead of the G20 summit this week. Protestors are highlighting the plight of tens of thousands of Indian tribal people, who have been illegally evicted from villages inside tiger reserves, and forced into lives of poverty and misery on the fringes of mainstream society.

The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has recently issued an order stating that tribal peoples’ rights should not be recognized in critical tiger habitats. The NTCA has no legal authority to issue this order, which is a gross violation of the Forest Rights Act.

The NTCA has ordered that tribal peoples’ rights should not be recognized in critical tiger habitats, a move which could be devastating for tribal peoples.
The NTCA has ordered that tribal peoples’ rights should not be recognized in critical tiger habitats, a move which could be devastating for tribal peoples.
© Survival

The Act guarantees tribal people the right to live on their ancestral land.

The woman whose face has been projected onto the embassy is from the Baiga people in central India. Thousands of Baiga have been illegally evicted from their forests.

In the past, some were moved into inadequate government resettlement sites, but more recently those evicted received no land or help in establishing their lives outside. Many families report that they have received only a fraction of the compensation they were promised.

Thousands of Indian tribal peoples face eviction from their ancestral lands, which are being turned into tourist-friendly tiger reserves
Thousands of Indian tribal peoples face eviction from their ancestral lands, which are being turned into tourist-friendly tiger reserves
© Survival

Many more communities are facing similar evictions across the country. While tribal people are being evicted, fee-paying tourists are welcomed in. In one tiger reserve, uranium exploration has just been approved.

Survival’s Director Stephen Corry said: “Modi’s government has continued the inhumane and illegal practice of evicting tribal people from tiger reserves. It’s now planning to ignore tribal peoples’ rights and push ahead with mining and other so-called “development” projects on lands that tribal peoples have been looking after for generations. It’s a con. It’s time the Indian government stopped attacking its own citizens and started abiding by its own laws.”