Sonam Dolma, the leader of Kaza Mahila Mandal in Spiti Valley submitting a petition to the ADM to drop the FIR against the women who protested against the state’s agriculture minister, Ramlal Markhanda. Photo Credit: Himshi Singh
Adivasi Rights

Women Criminalised For Protecting Spiti Valley

For the past 6 months, Sonam Dolma (29) along with 15 women, has stood guard at the entrance gate everyday in Kaza town- the gateway to the Spiti valley- in the hill state of Himachal Pradesh (HP). The aim of the women of this small vulnerable hill region with a population of 12,445 ( as per 2011 census) to protect themselves from the risk of Covid-19 infection from outsiders. 72% of Spiti’s population is Scheduled Tribes.These women,  who are part of the Kaza Mahila Mandal (Kaza Women’s group), monitor every vehicle and person who comes into Kaza and ensure that

Adivasi women in Chattisgarh demanding that District Mineral Fund be provided directly to the communities affected. Photo Credit: Savita Rath
Adivasi Rights

How the Government Diluted Forest Rights Of Adivasis during Lockdown

Policy decisions for forest diversion during the COVID19 lockdown  which potentially dilute the Forest Rights Act, 2006 (FRA) and undermine the decision-making authority of the Gram Sabhas have become a major issue faced by Adivasi and forest dwelling communities.FRA requires the completion of the recognition and vesting of forest rights and obtaining free prior informed consent of Gram Sabhas before diversion of forest lands. This is  specified in the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC)’s own 2009 guidelines ,  the Forest Conservation Rules (2016), and also upheld by the Supreme Court in the landmark Niyamgiri judgement (2013).An analysis

Adivasi Rights

How the Government Diluted Forest Rights Of Adivasis during Lockdown

Policy decisions for forest diversion during the COVID19 lockdown which potentially dilute the Forest Rights Act, 2006 (FRA) and undermine the decision-making authority of the Gram Sabhas have become a major issue faced by Adivasi and forest-dwelling communities. FRA requires the completion of the recognition and vesting of forest rights and obtaining free prior informed consent of Gram Sabhas before diversion of forest lands. This is specified in the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC)’s own 2009 guidelines,  the Forest Conservation Rules (2016), and also upheld by the Supreme Court in the landmark Niyamgiri judgement (2013). Large scale, particularly highly

Anna Kujur, a tribal rights leader from Sundergarh district, Odisha Photo credit: Better India and Samvaad.
Adivasi Rights

We Fought For Our Right To Our Land With A FistFul Of Rice

Anna Kujur (53) is a fearless Adivasi leader from the Sundergarh district of Odisha. Sundergarh is a predominantly tribal district in north-west Odisha where over half the population is Adivasis, who depend on forest produce and agriculture for their livelihood.Since 2002, Anna di ( a revered term for older sister) as she is popularly known in Odisha,  has organised the Adivasis in the district under the Athkosia Adivasi Sangathan. She has  helped over 30,000 Adivasis realise their claims to land and forest rights under the Forest Rights Act,2006. She has managed to do all with very meagre resources, with the

Adivasi women collecting Siali leaves from the forest in Bamandagarh village, Jamankira block, Sambalpur District, Odisha. Photo courtesy: Ipsita Behera, Vasundhara
Adivasi Rights

COVID-19 : Adivasi and Forest Dwelling Women Face The Brunt

Socio-cultural values and norms have traditionally excluded women from participation in community decision making fora and denied them equal inheritance and property rights, both under formal and customary laws. The Forest Rights Act 2006 is among the few progressive laws which attempt to undo this historical injustice by mainstreaming gender equality in the recognition of forest rights.These are testimonies of women of Adivasi and Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG), Traditional Forest Dwellers and Pastoral communities of the impact of lockdown on their lives and livelihood.Some of these women reside within forests where they have tenurial security, others are resisting harassment

Adivasi women protecting their forests from CAMPA plantation in Pidormaha village in Kandhamal district, Odisha. Photo courtesy: Archana Soreng
Adivasi Rights

COVID-19 : Adivasi and Forest Dwelling Women Face The Brunt

Socio-cultural values and norms have traditionally excluded women from participation in community decision making fora and denied them equal inheritance and property rights, both under formal and customary laws. The Forest Rights Act 2006 is among the few progressive laws which attempt to undo this historical injustice by mainstreaming gender equality in the recognition of forest rights.These are testimonies of women of Adivasi and Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG), Traditional Forest Dwellers and Pastoral communities of the impact of lockdown on their lives and livelihood.Some of these women reside within forests where they have tenurial security, others are resisting harassment

Adivasi Women from the Banabahini Utpadaka Gosthi Collective, Sambalpur District, Odisha Photo courtesy: Ipsita Behera, Vasundhara

Adivasi Rights

A double blow for Adivasi Women Collectives

” We are unable to sell Mahul flowers in the market due to the lockdown. Lockdown has taken our  livelihood away”, said Baijanti Kalo of Bamandagarh village  in Jamankira Block of Sambalpur District in Odisha. “ We can only eat rice and salt now. But there is no money to buy salt even”, she said in despair.The lockdown imposed by the government of India to contain the Covid-19 pandemic has severely impacted the livelihood of marginalized forest dwellers, especially women like Baijanti of Kondh tribe,  who depend on minor forest produce (MFP) for their livelihood. The minor forest produce that Adivasi women

Ujala Samooh collective women leaders from the tribal Meena and Bhil communities in Southern Rajasthan. Formed in 2011, the tribal women of Ujala Samooh have been organising tribal women in Rajasthan to claim their rights and entitlements. During the Covid-19 pandemic, they are working hard to bust misinformation and make relevant information around the pandemic and government welfare measures available to the citizens.

Adivasi Rights

Adivasi Women Collectives Busting Misinformation

Every morning, Kamla Bai ( 30) makes a round of the hamlets in the Saklal Panchayat in Udaipur district of Rajasthan. Her mission is to bust misinformation and rumours about the coronavirus pandemic among the people of her Panchayat.“ There are all kinds of rumours about coronavirus in the villages. One rumour is that people with symptoms will be taken by the hospital staff and shot in the head to stop the spread of the virus”, she says. Another rumour doing the rounds, especially among men, is that the disease can be cured by drinking Mahua (traditional home-made liquor), which

Bitiya Murmu, a Santhal Adivasi woman leader based in Dumka in Jharkhand has been fighting a personal and a political battle for women’s land and inheritance rights within the Adivasi society. (Photo Courtesy: Bitiya Murmu)
Adivasi Rights

Where Are The Equal Rights For Adivasi Women?

For Bitiya Murmu (40), a Santhal Adivasi woman leader in Jharkhand, personal has become political. For the last ten years, she has been fighting a long battle with her male relatives to claim her rightful share to her ancestral property- a struggle which has since transformed into a statewide advocacy for land, property and inheritance rights for all Adivasi women in the state.Governed by unwritten customary laws, Adivasi women are not entitled to secure inheritance which pushes them into multiple levels of vulnerability within the society. In 1986, Juliana Lakra, an Oraon Adivasi woman filed a writ petition challenging the