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Eviction from Manas National Park, Assam, India

Local Bodo communities are threatened by eviction, while other Adivasi and no Bodo communities have faced eviction since the last decade. Are Conservation Organisations complicit in ethnic discrimination?


Manas Wildlife Sanctuary is a National Park, a Tiger Reserve and a UNESCO heritage site. It is located on the Himalayas foothills of the North East state of India, Assam, and it is contiguous with the Royal Manas National Park of Bhutan. The Manas National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage (WH) site is a part of the Himalayan biodiversity hotspot [8]. It also forms the core of the Manas Tiger Reserve, which is recognized as an important tiger habitat. In 1985, when Manas was listed as a WH site, not only had a large tiger population, but also other large carnivores as well as diverse and abundant populations of wild ungulates to sustain them [8]. 

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Eviction from Manas National Park, Assam, India
State or province:Assam
Location of conflict:Barpeta
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Biodiversity conservation conflicts
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Establishment of reserves/national parks
Specific commodities:Biological resources
Tourism services
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Manas National Park was declared a sanctuary on 1 October 1928 with an area of 360 km2. In 1973 was declared as a Manas Tiger Reserve with an area of 2837.10 sq km. It was declared a World Heritage site in December 1985 by UNESCO, and a MAB Biosphere Reserve in the same year. The core of the Tiger Reserve was declared as a National Park in September 1990, for an extension of 500 sq km. In 1992, UNESCO declared it as a world heritage site in danger due to heavy poaching and terrorist activities.

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Project area:315,092
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:2.250
Start of the conflict:01/12/2016
Company names or state enterprises:Assam Project on Forest and Biodiversity Conservation Society Vision & Mission (APFBCSV) from India
Wildlife trust of India (WTI ) from India
Relevant government actors:Assam Forest Department.
National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA)
International and Finance InstitutionsUNESCO - United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) from France
International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) from United States of America
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:All Assam Adivasi Students Association (AASAA)
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Landless peasants
Bodo indigenous community
Forms of mobilization:Street protest/marches
Refusal of compensation
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Food insecurity (crop damage)
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights
Potential: Land dispossession
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Land demarcation
Proposal and development of alternatives:Some locals are starting claiming their individual and community rights on their forest land under the Forest Rights Act, 2006.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:In Manas the conflict over natural resources has developed over several levels. People are resisting against the different plans of eviction by the government. There is no much-organzied resistance and locals continue to be victims of conservation restrictions.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers Act, 2006
[click to view]

Wildlife Protection Act, 2006 Amendment
[click to view]

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[8] Rajkamal Goswami. 2011. 'Conservation amidst political unrest: The case of Manas National Park, India' in Current Science.
[click to view]

[1] Mongabay. 'India’s Manas National Park illustrates the human dimension of rhino conservation'. Author: Bikash Kumar Bhattacharya. Feb. 13 2017.
[click to view]

[2] The Telegraph. 'Eviction in Manas begins today'. Author: Roopak Goswami. Dec. 22 2016
[click to view]

[4] Assam Time. 'Eviction at Manas National Park'. Feb. 18, 2017
[click to view]

[5] Conservation Watch. 'India: Almost 40,000 people were evicted in the name of conservation in 2017'. Author: Chris Lang. March 3, 2018.
[click to view]

[6]The Telegraph. 'Eviction heat builds up in Chirang'. Author: Sumir Karmakar. Sept. 29, 2016.
[click to view]

[7] The Wire. 'Are Conservation Organisations Complicit in Ethnic Discrimination?' Author: Trishant Simlai and Raza Kazmi. Nov. 13, 2017.
[click to view]

Manas National Park: Those Living in the Fringe Areas. in Sahapedia. Author: Sayantani Chatterjee
[click to view]

Other documents

[3] State of Conservation Report of Manas Wildlife Sanctuary (India) (N338) Official Government Report
[click to view]

Other comments:We are thankful for the information shared by Arnab Bose, wildlife researcher around Manas area.
Meta information
Contributor:Eleonora Fanari. ICTA. [email protected]
Last update11/01/2019
Conflict ID:3940
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