Odisha will drop 48000 minor cases involving Native Americans

Bhubaneswar: In a significant development, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has issued directives to withdraw a substantial number of legal cases amounting to over 48,000 against members of tribal communities, which were filed under various provisions associated with excise, forest, and government land encroachment acts.

Representative Image: Tribals make up approximately 23% of Odisha's total population of 4.2 crores, as per the 2011 census data.

This decision is being perceived as a strategic move aimed at fostering closer ties with tribal communities in the state, particularly in light of the upcoming elections.

According to official sources who preferred to remain anonymous, these cases encompass a wide spectrum, including 36,581 cases initiated by the Excise Department, 9,846 cases by the Housing and Urban Development Department, and 1,591 cases by the Forest and Environment Department. The withdrawal of these legal proceedings is expected to alleviate the burden on the courts and the judicial system.

Furthermore, officials have clarified that the excise cases lodged against tribals mainly pertain to minor infractions, making the withdrawal of these cases a prudent course of action.

Likewise, charges filed against tribals under the Indian Forest Act, of 1927, governing the regulation of forest produce movement, will also be retracted. It has been common practice for forest authorities to initiate legal action against tribals for collecting minor forest produce (MFP) for household consumption or local market sales under relevant forest laws.

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