In Rampur’s village (Katni district, Madhya Pradesh), the majority of the lands are ancestral land so it belongs to the villagers and is mostly managed by men. In 1990, 20 women, supported by Ekta Parishad, decided to encroach on a 7-hectare piece of land and to cultivate it with wheat and rice for livelihood.
Since the time that they began to work on these lands, the Government has been trying to chase them away but they have not been successful partly because the women had the support of Ekta Parishad. However, the 20 women have been fined by the forest officials and each one of them has had to deposit 500 rupees.
In India, if people have been cultivating the forest land for at least 12 years, they have the right to the land and are eligible for a land patta (title deed). The patta is given in the name of one person and for at least 5 acres. So, after 12 years of struggle, the 3 women of the group who did not have ancestral land got a patta and could finally cultivate the fields without persecution from the Government.
For 12 years Ekta Parishad has been supporting the women’s efforts financially and morally, they had to support them to carry on a lawsuit and make many visits to the district officials. This is one of the many examples that can be seen in people’s ongoing struggle for their land rights.
Source: Jan Satyagraha News – May 2010
Some articles on Ekta Parishad’s activity