On March 23, the day celebrated commemorated nationwide as a tribute to martyrs Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev, who redefined the revolutionary struggle for Indian independence, the All India Union of Forest Working People (AIUFWP), assisted by Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), has achieved a historic milestone.
In our endeavour to support the recognition of rights struggle of Adivasis and forest dwelling communities, we have today succeeded in helping them put together all documents necessary to file as many as 20 community claims by women to forest land in Chitrakoot, Uttar Pradesh. What is even more historic is how these community claims, under the Forest Rights Act (FRA), have all been filed by women forest workers.
Here are some pictures to show you how the movement unfolded on the ground via a painstaking process.
The detailed process of filing claims, overcoming the tedious hurdles, meeting the required provisions of the emancipatory Forest Rights Act, (FRA 2006) provided by the on-ground forest rights activists may be read here.
The Forest Rights Committee (FRC) is constituted by the Gram Sabha, which in its first meeting, elects from amongst its members, a committee of not less than ten, but not exceeding fifteen persons as members of the FRC.
More images of a procession by men and women raising slogans of “Aurat Shakti Zindabad” (long live women empowerment), “Mazdoor Ekta Zindabad” (long live labour unity) and “Inquilab Zindabad” (long live the revolution)
Pictures of Government Officers verifying the claim documents filed by women members of the forest dwelling communities.
Out of 18 villages, claims for 8 have been completed. These are: Ranipur, Unchadih, Amarpur, Tikuri, Murkata, Bagdari, Sakrauha and Gidarha. The team is working round the clock to finish the claim filing process for the 10 remaining villages.
Filling out forms, giving details of the exact amount of land to which the claim is being made, providing the government authorities rightful IDs as proof, attaching maps, list of herbs (jadi-booti) in the region, list of names of all claimants, relevant signatures of officials, etc is a painstakingly long process for communities and activists, who continue to struggle for resources that are their own. To comprehend how complicated the procedure is, take a look at this presentation that explains it.
With today’s on-ground efforts, AIUFWP and CJP reaffirm our commitment to defending both, Forest Rights as well Women’s Rights in our country.
*All images by Pankaj (AIUFWP)