The Displaced Lives of Indigenous People of Aarey Forest
The only green patch in Mumbai city, called the Aarey forest, is home to around 12,000 indigenous people, out of which more than 150 families have lost what they call their ancestral land, according to Anand Ray Mogha, an Aarey resident. Although it is seen as the “green lung” of Mumbai, the government of the western state of Maharashtra has demarcated a large portion of the forest for development projects, including the construction of Mumbai Metro Line III.
Those who have managed to remain in Aarey are now claiming that the government is making it difficult for them to survive in the forest. Authorities, they allege, are reluctant to provide essential services, including electricity and water, with the hope that they would want to move out of the area. They also complain that the government refuses to recognise them as indigenous people, treating them as “slum dwellers.”
To catch some glimpses of their lives and grievances, please watch the video above.
Jessica Goel is a Multimedia Producer with StoriesAsia and a graduate from Indian Institute of Mass Communication, Delhi. When she isn’t telling stories, she likes to make illustrating artwork.