(Co-hosted by South Asia and Indian Ocean Studies Seminar)

 

【Date & Time】September 24 (Monday, holiday), 2018 16:30~18:00
【Venue】Conference Room (AA447), 4th Floor, Research Building No. 2, Yoshida Main Campus, Kyoto University
(Building No. 34 of the above map)

 

【Speaker】Anwesha Dutta (Doctoral Research Fellow, Department of Conflict and Development Studies, Ghent University, Belgium)
【Title】Forest becomes Frontline: Conservation, the Ecological Task Force and ethno-religious conflict in Assam (India)
【Language】English

 

Abstract:

Drawing on the Ecological Task Force (ETF) of the Indian Army, I expand on existing conceptual and theoretical views on green militarization in the context of poaching and national parks within the critical conservation literature, by applying it to the reserved forests (RFs) in the Bodoland Territorial Autonomous District (BTAD) in Assam, northeast India. Here, politics that surround conservation is immersed within a context of ethno-religious conflict. The BTAD has been a theatre of recurrent insurgencies between the autochthonous Bodo tribe and the Adivasi, Muslim groups over land and territory. A key characteristic of the conflict is its occurrence in the RFs on Assam-Bhutan borderlands, which can be traced back to the colonial process of forest making that brought immigrants into Assam, threatening cultural and territorial loss for Bodos. Drawing on regional environmental history, I analyze how ethno-religious conflict influences modes of conservation exemplified by continuing inter-institutional competition between the forest department and the Environmental Task Force (ETF) that was set up in 2007.

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