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Forced Eviction from Nagarhole National Park, Karnataka, India

For forty years, a large number of tribal people have been evicted from the Nagarhole National Park (a Tiger Reserve), sometimes with relocation and compensation.


The Nagarhole National Park, also known as Rajiv Gandhi National Park, was originally constituted as a game sanctuary in 1955, and later declared a National Park in 1983. In 2007, the entire Nagarhole National Park was declared as a Critical Tiger Habitat (CTH), for a total area of 1515.59 sq. km. As per the MEE report 2014 in the CTH there are about 33 tribal settlements and 96 settlements in the periphery.  There are 3 major tribal groups residing under the limits of the park, the PVTG group of Jenukurubas and Bettakurubaa, Yerawas, Soligas, and the sub-caste of Yerawas i.e.the Panjeri Yeravas and Pani-Yeravas. 

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Forced Eviction from Nagarhole National Park, Karnataka, India
State or province:Karnataka
Location of conflict:Mysore and Kodhaku
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:Land
Biological resources
Tourism services
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The Nagarhole National Park, also known as Rajiv Gandhi National Park, is situated between the two districts: Mysore – HT Cote and Hunsur taluk - and Kodagu – Virajpeet Taluk-, in the state of Karnataka. It was originally constituted into a game sanctuary in the year 1955 covering an area of 130, and subsequently was extended over an area of 643 sq km in 1983, in order to include the adjoining areas of Mysore district and thereby was declared as a National Park . At that time the core was about 192 sq km and the buffer was 451.39 sq km out of which 110 sq km were demarcated as the tourism zone.

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Project area:120,500
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:23,000
Start of the conflict:01/01/1984
Relevant government actors:Karnataka Forest Department.
National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA)
International and Finance InstitutionsThe World Bank (ESCAMP ,WB) from United States of America
Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) from United States of America
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Coorg Organization for Rural Development (CORD),
Bubakattu Krishekara Sangha (BKS).
Nisarga Foundation
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Social movements
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Jenu Kuruba; Yerawa.
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Development of a network/collective action
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment
Refusal of compensation
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Food insecurity (crop damage)
Potential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity)
Health ImpactsVisible: Malnutrition
Potential: Health problems related to alcoholism, prostitution
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Increase in violence and crime, Militarization and increased police presence, Specific impacts on women, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Criminalization of activists
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Strengthening of participation
Violent targeting of activists
Proposal and development of alternatives:The tribals living in the area are fighting for the recognition of the Forest Rights Act to ensure the management of the natural resources in their forest areas. They are also asserting their rights and developing coffee plantation and other plantation in their area for their own development.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The clampdown of a very strong movement is resulting in a loss of hope by the tribals, which lastly have been deciding to leave their land and get the compensation package offered. However many are still resisting within the forest protected area.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

Wildlife Protection Act, 2006 Amendment
[click to view]

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

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

[1] Muzaffar Azadi (2014), Executive Summary of the Report “On the Tribal Issueof Rajiv Gandhi (Nagarhole) National Park. Report submitted to Honourable Court Committee on the Tribal Issues of Rajiv Gandhi National Park.

Ajay Desai. 2010. Report on the progress of Village Relocation Nagarahole and Mudumalai Tiger Reserves. For the National Tiger Conservation Authority.
[click to view]

Ananda Siddhartha 2013. Forest Governance and the Forest Rights Act in Nagarhole, South India. Pipal Tree
[click to view]

Sanghamitra Mahanty (2002) NGOs, Agencies and Donors in Participatory Conservation: Tales from Nagarahole Author(s): Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 37, No. 36 (Sep. 7-13, 2002), pp. 3757-3765

[2] The Hindu. Tribal relocation proves tricky, Author: K. Jeevan Chinnappa. Jan. 6, 2013
[click to view]

[3] Equations, 1998, Recent Threats to Rajiv Gandhi National Park, in Nagarholem Karnataka, India: Taj Groups of Hotels and others.
[click to view]

[4] The Hindu. ‘Trespassing’, collecting honey among charges against Nagarahole tribal people'. September 3, 2014. Author: Divya Gandhi.
[click to view]

[6] Indian Express. Encroachment Threat Again at Nagarhole National Park. Meera Bhardwaj. June 3, 2015.
[click to view]

[7] Tribal forum seeks rehabilitation measures in Karnataka State Budget. Author: R. Krishnna Kumar. Jan. 23, 2016.
[click to view]

[8] The Hindu. 'Adivasis on Dharna in HD Kote, demanding rehabilitation'. Dec 11, 2018.
[click to view]

[9] The Hidnu 'Order staying FRA in tiger reserves violates tribal rights: Brinda', April 13, 2017.
[click to view]

[10] The Print "Study traces how the British ruined Western Ghats, one of India’s most unique ecosystems" Author: Sandhya Ramesh. Nov. 9, 2018.
[click to view]

The Hindu. Concern over plan to rehabilitate tribal families displaced from Nagarahole. Author: R. Krishna Kumar.
[click to view]

Frontline. Eviction Fear, in Frontline. Author: Vikhar Ahmed Sayeed. Feb 13, 2010.
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

The South Indian Adivasi Experience in the Nagar Hole National Park and the Muthanga Wild Life Sanctuary Speech at the Vth World Parks Congress, Durban September 2003.
[click to view]

Other comments:We are thankful for the information shared by Vijay Singh Ronald David of Coorg Organization for Rural Development (CORD), and Nanjundaiah of Nisarga Foundation.
Meta information
Contributor:Eleonora Fanari, ICTA (UAB).
Last update18/01/2019
Conflict ID:3973
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