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PRESS RELEASE: 84% of the India’s national parks are in tribal inhabited areas, Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework will destroy indigenous peoples worldwide, warns Suhas Chakma

Arizona, United States, 22 March 2023: About 89 out of the 106 notified national parks in India i.e. about 84% were established in the areas inhabited by the Scheduled Tribes and indigenous peoples across the world will suffer destruction if Target 3 of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity to increase global protected areas at least to 30 percent from the current 16 per cent of the world’s terrestrial area is realized.” – warned Mr Suhas Chakma, Regional Campaign Manager of the IPLP Initiative on Indigenous Peoples Affected by Protected Areas while addressing the “Symposium on Conservation, Racism and Indigenous Peoples Human Rights” organized by the University of Arizona today.

Giving further details about the remaining 17 national parks not inhabited by the STs in India, Mr Chakma stated, two national parks (South Button Island National Park and Rani Jhansi Marine National Park under Andaman and Nicobar Islands) are marine areas and do not have any human habitation; four are zoos (Van Vihar, Kasu Brahmananda Reddy, Mahaveer Harina Vanasthali and Salim Ali); on four national parks (Col. Sherjung Simbalbara, Neora Valley, Singalila and Fossil) information about inhabitance of the STs could not be verified and while only in seven national parks, general category people were impacted.

The current expansion of protected areas whether Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary in Rajasthan or Nauradehi Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh mainly impact the STs and other forest dwellers. Assam’s notification for the Barak Bhuban Wildlife Sanctuary of 19 June 2022 states that “the area is free from encroachment as per record, there are no rights and concessions of any person in the area” but indigenous Khasi people living inside the proposed sanctuary have records including Kachukhal Part-2 Khasi Punjee village being established in 1914!

“Across Asia, indigenous peoples face massive human rights violations in the protected areas. In the Ujungkulon National Park of Indonesia, indigenous peoples are denied the right to proper housing, health, education, electricity and security while indigenous leaders such Ms Heng Saphen living inside the Beng Per Wildlife Sanctuary of Cambodia have been convicted by a Kangaroo court for cultivating on her own land. After the Botum Sakor National Park of Cambodia was handed over to the Royal Group in 2021, its forest coverage reduced to just 18% of the park as of July 2023 because of the massive logging.” – also stated Mr Chakma

“That the STs who constitute about 8.6% of the total population of India also constitute about 84% of the communities impacted by the protected areas reflect the disproportionate targeting of indigenous peoples for saving the world’s biodiversity and ecosystem. Worse, their lifestyles and livelihood practices have been criminalized from the colonial times such as the Forest Act of 1927. On 21 February 2024, Chief Minister of Odisha ordered withdrawal of over 48,000 cases against tribal community members relating to excise (making country liquor), forest offence, and land encroachment. These 48,000 pending cases expose the extent of the criminalisation of their lifestyles and livelihood practices and if 48,000 cases are pending in one State i.e. Odisha alone, one can conjure up the number of cases pending against the STs in India.”- further stated Mr Chakma.

“If indigenous peoples win the right to stay inside the protected areas, they live under constant human rights violations such as restrictions of the freedom of movement, little or no access to development initiatives, excessive surveillance, sexual violence and criminal cases for alleged making country-liquor (excise) cases, forest offences, poaching etc. If they accept relocation, the world simply has not seen a single successful case of rehabilitation and resettlement.”- furthermore stated Mr Chakma.

The most serious emerging challenge is the increasing privatisation of the protected areas in the name of eco-tourism and sustainable eco-tourism etc. The protected areas are increasingly becoming more of tourism spots and less about protection of the species, with expensive safaris being provided as recreational opportunities to the elites of the world, often in the name of indigenous peoples. The role of the indigenous peoples in such eco-tourism spots have been reduced to indigenous peoples (especially women, girls and elderly people) being made to sit in traditional replicas of their houses dressed up with traditional dresses, ornaments, music instruments etc and at times, performing traditional music and dances until the tourists depart. More often than not, indigenous peoples are projected like animals in a zoo in many of the eco-tourism spots.

Mr Chakma called for human rights oversight mechanisms on protected areas which are treated like fortresses. These fortresses are akin to the Guantanamo Bay where human rights violations by the government or private rangers can be perpetrated by using firm-arms without any respect for the UN Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials.


Name of State/ UT       SL No. Name of Protected Area Year of Creation Area
(in km2)
Whether STs & Other Forest Dwellers  are impacted Name of the STs & Other Forest Dwellers
Andhra Pradesh 1 Papikonda 2008 1012.8588 Yes Koya
Andhra Pradesh 2 Rajiv Gandhi (Rameswaram) 2005 2.3952 Yes Yanadi and other STs
Andhra Pradesh 3 Sri Venkateswara 1989 353.62 Yes Yanadi
Arunachal Pradesh 4 Mouling 1986 483.00 Yes Adi
Arunachal Pradesh 5 Namdapha 1983 1807.82 Yes Lishu
Assam 6 Dibru-Saikhowa 1999 340.00 Yes Mising
Assam 7 Dihing Patkai 2021 234.26 Yes Singhpho, Tai Phake, Tai Khyamang, Tai Ahom, Khamti, Moran, Chutia, tea tribe
Assam 8 Kaziranga 1974 889.51 Yes Mising
Assam 9 Manas 1990 500.00 Yes Bodo
Assam 10 Nameri 1998 200.00 Yes Nyishi, Adi
Assam 11 Rajiv Gandhi (Orang) 1999 78.81 Yes Adivasi, Tea Tribe
Assam 12 Raimona 2021 422.00 Yes Bodo
Bihar 13 Valmiki 1989 335.65 Yes Tharu, Oraon, Munda, Lohra, Bhuiya
Chhattisgarh 14 Guru Ghasidas (Sanjay) 1981 1440.71 Yes Gond
Chhattisgarh 15 Indravati (Kutru) 1982 1258.37 Yes Gond, Bhunjia, Muria, Halba, Kamar, Munda
Chhattisgarh 16 Kanger Valley 1982 200.00 Yes Gond
Goa 17 Mollem 1992 107.00 Yes Dhangar, Velips
Gujarat 18 Blackbuck (Velavadar) 1976 34.53 Yes Kathi
Gujarat 19 Gir 1975 258.71 Yes Maldhari
Gujarat 20 Marine (Gulf of Kachchh) 1982 162.89 No Marine
Gujarat 21 Vansda 1979 23.99 Yes Bhils, Kunbi, Warli, Chowdry, Gamit, Bhoi, and Kukna
Haryana 22 Kalesar 2003 46.82 No No tribals
Haryana 23 Sultanpur 1989 1.43 No No tribals
Himachal Pradesh 24 Great Himalayan 1984 754.40 Yes Gaddi 
Himachal Pradesh 25 Inderkilla 2010 94.00 No No tribals
Himachal Pradesh 26 Khirganga 2010 705.00 Yes Gaddi, Kinnauri
Himachal Pradesh 27 Pin Valley 1987 675.00 Yes Bhotia
Himachal Pradesh 28 Col. Sherjung Simbalbara 2010 27.88 Info unavailable N/A
Jharkhand 29 Betla 1986 226.33 Yes Oraon, Munda, Santhal
Karnataka 30 Anshi 1987 417.34 Yes Scheduled Tribes
Karnataka 31 Bandipur 1974 872.24 Yes Soliga, Kuruba, Jenu and Betta Kuruba
Karnataka 32 Bannerghatta 1974 260.51 Yes Hakki Pakki
Karnataka 33 Kudremukh 1987 600.57 Yes Malekudiya
Karnataka 34 Nagarahole (Rajiv Gandhi) 1988 643.39 Yes Jenu Kuruba, Betta Kuruba and Yerava
Kerala 35 Anamudi Shola 2003 7.50 Yes Muthuvan
Kerala 36 Eravikulam 1978 97.00 Yes Muduvan
Kerala 37 Mathikettan Shola 2003 12.82 Yes Muthuvan
Kerala 38 Pambadum Shola 2003 1.32 Yes Muthuvan, Hill Pulaya
Kerala 39 Periyar 1982 350.00 Yes Mannan, Palian
Kerala 40 Silent Valley 1984 89.52 Yes Kurumba, Muduga, Irula, Kattu Naiken
Madhya Pradesh 41 Bandhavgarh 1968 448.842 Yes Baiga, Gond
Madhya Pradesh 42 Dinosaur Fossils 2011 0.897 Yes Bhils
Madhya Pradesh 43 Fossil 1983 0.27 Info unavailable N/A
Madhya Pradesh 44 Pench 1975 292.857 Yes Gond
Madhya Pradesh 45 Kanha 1955 941.793 Yes Baiga, Gond
Madhya Pradesh 46 Kuno 2018 748.761 Yes Saharia PVTG
Madhya Pradesh 47 Madhav 1959 375.23 Yes Saharia PVTG
Madhya Pradesh 48 Panna 1981 542.66 Yes Rajgond, Saura Gond
Madhya Pradesh 49 Sanjay 1981 464.643 Yes Gond
Madhya Pradesh 50 Satpura 1981 528.729 Yes Korku, Bharia, Gond
Madhya Pradesh 51 Van Vihar 1979 4.452 No Zoo
Maharashtra 52 Chandoli 2004 317.67 Yes Dhangar (Pastoral community)
Maharashtra 53 Gugamal 1975 361.28 Yes Bori, Koha and Kund
Maharashtra 54 Nawegaon 1975 133.88 Yes Scheduled Tribes
Maharashtra 55 Pench (Jawaharlal Nehru) 1975 257.26 Yes Scheduled Tribes
Maharashtra 56 Sanjay Gandhi (Borivilli) 1983 86.96 Yes Scheduled Tribes
Maharashtra 57 Tadoba 1955 116.55 Yes Madia Gond
Manipur 58 Keibul-Lamjao 1977 40.00 Yes Meities and other forest dwellers
Manipur 59 Shiroi 1982 100.00 Yes Scheduled Tribes
Meghalaya 60 Balphakram 1986 220.00 Yes Garo
Meghalaya 61 Nokrek Ridge 1997 47.48 Yes Garo
Mizoram 62 Murlen 2003 100.00 Yes Mizo
Mizoram 63 Phawngpui (Blue Mountain) 1997 50.00 Yes Mizo
Nagaland 64 Intanki 1993 202.02 Yes Zeliangrong
Odisha 65 Bhitarkanika 1988 145.00 Yes Scheduled Tribes
Odisha 66 Simlipal 1980 845.70 Yes Khadia
Rajasthan 67 Desert 1992 3162.00 No N/A
Rajasthan 68 Keoladeo Ghana 1981 28.73 Yes Banjara (Pastoral community)
Rajasthan 69 Mukundra Hills 2006 200.54 Yes Gurjar (Pastoral community)
Rajasthan 70 Ranthambhore 1980 282.00 Yes Hunter-gatherers and other forest dwellers
Rajasthan 71 Sariska 1992 273.80 Yes Meena
Sikkim 72 Khangchendzonga 1977 1784.00 Yes Bhutia, Lepcha
Tamil Nadu 73 Guindy 1976 2.7057 Yes Irula
Tamil Nadu 74 Gulf of Mannar Marine 1980 526.02 No Marakeyars (Non-tribals)
Tamil Nadu 75 Indira Gandhi (Annamalai) 1989 117.10 Yes Kadar, Muthuvar, Malai Malasar, Pulaiyar, Eravalar
Tamil Nadu 76 Mudumalai 1990 103.23 Yes Kattunayakar
Tamil Nadu 77 Mukurthi 1990 78.46 Yes Toda
Telangana 78 Kasu Brahmananda Reddy 1994 1.425 No Zoo
Telangana 79 Mahaveer Harina Vanasthali 1994 14.59 No Zoo
Telangana 80 Mrugavani 1994 3.60 Yes Tribals
Tripura 81 Clouded Leopard 2007 5.08 Yes Tripuris
Tripura 82 Bison (Rajbari) 2007 31.63 Yes Tripuris
Uttar Pradesh 83 Dudhwa 1977 490.00 Yes Tharu
Uttarakhand 84 Corbett 1936 520.82 Yes Van Gujjar (Nomadic tribe)
Uttarakhand 85 Gangotri 1989 2390.02 Yes Van Gujjar (Nomadic tribe)
Uttarakhand 86 Govind 1990 472.08 Yes Van Gujjar (Nomadic tribe)
Uttarakhand 87 Nanda Devi 1982 624.60 Yes Bhotiya
Uttarakhand 88 Rajaji 1983 820.00 Yes Van Gujjar (Nomadic tribe)
Uttarakhand 89 Valley of Flowers 1982 87.50 Yes Bhotiya
West Bengal 90 Buxa 1992 117.10 Yes Bhutias
West Bengal 91 Gorumara 1992 79.45 Yes Santhals and Oraon stay nearby
West Bengal 92 Jaldapara 2014 216.34 Yes Toto, Mech, Bodo
West Bengal 93 Neora Valley 1986 159.8917 Info unavailable N/A
West Bengal 94 Singalila 1986 78.60 Info unavailable N/A
West Bengal 95 Sunderban 1984 1330.10 Yes Munda, Santhal, Bhumij, Oraon
Andaman & Nicobar Islands 96 Campbell Bay 1992 426.23 Yes Shompen and the Nicobaris
Andaman & Nicobar Islands 97 Galathea Bay 1992 110.00 Yes Shompen
Andaman & Nicobar Islands 98 Mahatama Gandhi Marine (Wandoor) 1983 281.50 No Marine
Andaman & Nicobar Islands 99 Mount Harriett 1987 46.62 Yes Negrito
Andaman & Nicobar Islands 100 Rani Jhansi Marine 1996 320.06 No Marine
Andaman & Nicobar Islands 101 Saddle Peak 1987 32.54 No Marine
Jammu & Kashmir 102 City Forest (Salim Ali) 1992 9.07 No Zoo
Jammu & Kashmir 103 Dachigam 1981 141.00 Yes Gujjar, Bakkarwals
Jammu & Kashmir 104 Kazinag 2000 90.88 Yes Gujjars and Bakkarwals
Jammu & Kashmir 105 Kishtwar High Altitute 1981 2191.50 Yes Gujjars and Bakkarwals
Ladakh 106 Hemis 1981 3350.00 Yes Ladhakis
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