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 The RoFR act recognizes the dwelling site, religious places, burial grounds, village council sites along with places of MFP, water resources, biodiverisity etc and also PVT tenures. As the implementation boils down to title deeds for house sites and lands under cultivation, SAKTI engaged the Chenchu youth to document their traditional knowledge in their idiom and dialect, in encouraging them to assert as inborn foresters, capable of managing these resources as envisaged in the Act.

"Since SAKTI activities are mostly issue based and covering a large area, here we concentrate on the forest-related programmes of SAKTI for the present study."


The Tribal Struggle for Property Rights

-Arun Kumar

SAKTI: Review Report by: Mukta Srivastava, Programme Officer, Oxfam GB in India - Hyderabad . DATE : 20-25 November 2002




Bhukya Bhangya

Asst. Professor of History

Nizam College,

Osmania University,


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Deccan Chronicle, December 3, 2000.


A skillful reconstruction of history   is   taking place in a corner of the Western Agency (trib­al) areas of Andhra Pradesh. Jeelugumili is at the southern border of the (hitherto) forest area of West Godavari district. The traditional inhabitants, the Koyas, have   discovered that their rich black soils yielding huge harvests of tobacco, cotton and cashew have attracted a gigantic wave of in-migration of l settler families from the coastal. 

What began as a trickle during early part of this century fumed into a flood after the


Several decades of apathy towards Constitutional provi­sions under Schedule V, and the Land Transfer Regulation of 1970 (popularly known as 1 of 70) specifically have not dulled the persistent Koya demand for return of their lands. 

This should be seen in the con­text of the loss of their tradition­al habitat — the forest — and the gradual undermining of their very way of life. 

The demand for return of their traditional lands is a stake-out for survival. It is also a response to the pioneering efforts of the NGO activists involved, ironi­cally called "land-grabbing advi­sors" by the police. 

Consequently, the demand has been accompanied by bold mile­stones — their prevention of set­tler cultivation of disputed lands over five years, large-scale Koya cultivation of these lands, active resistance to administrative incursions in sup­port of settlers (kidnap of offi­cials when their people have been arrested on trumped-up charges and their keen and growing appreciation of the formal rev­enue record sys­tem. 

Unlike the poor people in the plains who have used servility as a means to counter landlord supremacy, the Koyas are magnificently assertive and spirited despite their isolation. It is likely that a little carrot and a big stick may cow down Koya revolt today. the rich legacy of Andhra Pradesh will then have crumbled 

This Koya demand is now being met with a settler reconstruc­tion of history. Broadly, it goes like this: "We have been the inhabitants of this area since genera­tions. Our ances­tors had brought Koya couples from the forest for labour. Today, their descendants are             taking recourse to archa­ic provisions of law to say that this is Koya land. Government blin­dly supported them   earlier,   in view of the law. Now the govern­ment has realised its mistake and is deploying police to help us culti­vate. We are also assured by all political parties and particularly by the Telugu Desam govern­ment that the law will be repealed and we can breathe easy." 

Settler reconstruction of histo­ry is accompanied by a frighteningly self-righteous aggression. Two years ago, the records in the Jeelugumili Mandal Revenue office were burnt. The Jangareddigudem Mandal Revenue office was ransacked. The settlers have sat on innumer­able dharnas and blocked roads. They have locked the staff into MandaJ   Revenue   offices   at Ashwaraopet, Dammapet, and Koyyalagudem for days togeth­er. 

At Koyyalagudem, the Mandal Revenue Officer along with his staff was locked up for 10 days. In June this year, the settlers at Darbhagudem detained the Kovvur   Revenue    Divisional Officer at their village for a whole   day.  (The   Naxalites destroyed revenue records in several Telangana mandals some years ago to protest State control and fraudulence of the system. The   settlers   have   destroyed records that testified to earlier Koya control over land. ) 

Settler aggression of course is not met with police repression. Bailable cases are filed no doubt, but every information is given to the settler who is allowed to sur­render in court. 

The charge-sheets filed are appropriately weak. No mid­night raids, no beating at police stations, no abusive language for the settlers. 

 The settlers raided Krishnaveni's house in Cheemalavarigudem along with the police and ransacked it. Since the last three months, they have effectively prevented rations from reaching the three hamlets of Darbhagudem. They have destroyed the only tele­phone and television set in the three hamlets. By stopping Koyas on the roads and manhan­dling them, they have forced them to avoid all roads and take detours of over 15 km through pathways to reach Ashwaraopet. Effectively, thus, they have pre­vented Koya access to schools, hospitals and of course, their livelihood. 

Both police and revenue offi­cials have decisively swung in favour of the settlers. Power-hungry and pliant officials have facilitated thus. The police do not view the conflict as a civil dispute, far less as a Koya asser­tion of their democratic entitle­ments. For them, it is a clear law and order issue. 

Koya youth are incipient Naxalites to be nipped in the bud, Koya women have loose morals and are violent. Revenue officials have now decided that most of the disputed lands are settlers' genuine patta lands, and that Koya claims under the Land Transfer Regulation Act are fuelled by a the scheming Sakti. 

According   to   the   Mandal Revenue Officer, Jeelugumili, in Darbhagudem, for instance, out of 3,359 acre in the village (another 3,416 acre acre is covered by reserved forest). 2,651 acre is clearly genuine patta lands of the settlers; 144 acre belong to the Koyas. 

Some 562 acre only is in dispute (403 cases under the Land Transfer Regulation cases, 55 acre under litigation in the High Court, 52 acre under litiga­tion with the district collector, and 52 acre for which the settlers have no record.) 

Koyas allege large-scale fraud by set­tlers. Lands sold six years ago are shown in^a reprinted 1933 document (the RSR register) they say. Again permission for sales needed to be taken from the Collector or his deputy prior to 1959. Sakti has doc­umented several cases where permis­sion was ostensibly taken from the RDO Kovvur   when   no such official existed prior to 1942. The allegations of fraud by   the   non-tribal patwaris  and  rev­enue officials have very clear bases. The tribal land regu­lations aim at pro­tecting tribal inter­ests in land, taking as a given "free play", settlers will take over all lands. Very simply put, all lands sold between 1917 and 1959   to   non-tribals   required written   permission   from   the agent (the collector). After 1959, all land transfers sales, leases etc. to non-tribals were prohibit­ed. After 1970, even transfers between nori-tribals      were banned. Effectively, this implies that only longstanding settlers are recognised as authentic own­ers of land. In practice, however, most tribal lands have passed into settler hands, particularly those that are accessible and fer­tile. 

In a remarkable break with hierarchical traditions of oppres­sion, the Koyas have not touched the lands under the control of the Scheduled Castes, also techni­cally non-tribals. They are trying to retrieve their lands from big settler farmers only. 

What may be galling to us is the fact that laws have been flouted on such a large scale for so long. What is galling to the Koyas is that even when they are demanding their entitlements, these laws are still being flouted. "Earlier, we never asked for our rights," they say, "Now we are." Very unlike the poor people in the plains who have used servili­tyas a means to counter over­weening landlord supremacy, the Koyas are      magnificently assertive and spirited despite their isolation. It is likely that a little carrot and a big stick may cow down Koya revolt today. A little more of the rich legacy of Andhra Pradesh will then have crumbled.






W.P. No. 5515/87 M.P.No.7398/87 Date:May 1987

W.P. No. 6175/87 M.P.No.8273/87 Date:May 1987

 "Managing Director Godavari plywoods ltd. Rampachodavaram E.G.Dt. be and hereby is directed not to cut any mango trees, jamun and jack trees and cutting the forests of Maredumilli mandal, E.G.Dt."

 Only matured or dying trees were to be felled. Jeelugu (Caryota urens) palm, trees yielding minor forest produce like tamarind or cane brakes, creepers were not to be touched. A gap of 20 meters from a stream.)         --Times of India, April 30, 1991.


The candidate has chosen a topical subject, very relevant to our thinking on culture, cognition and language. He has red widely and is familiar with the literature that matters. His linguistic and anthropological reasoning is sound. His language is clear and simple.

...evidence of the investigator's ability as a linguist by special training and as a linguistic anthropologist by self - cultivated interest.

Prof. A.Munirathnam Reddy, Head, Department of Social Anthropology,S.V.University, Tirupati - 517502


Enabling the Community to Gain Command Over the Administrative Process is Empowerment.


"Today the development is manaement without governance and governanace is without proper participation."



A.P.Cabinet Sub - Committee Report on Left Wing Extrremists. - P.Sivaramakrishna.

The only information the government or media always compile carefully is on Naxalite encounters, never the violations of the instruments of rule of law such as minimum wages, fifth schedule, mismanagement of forests, equity in the distribution of welfare benefits, displacement, fragmentation of Socio-economic entities etc. 



if the R & R is found to be lagging with reference to the fixed bench marks, the construction should accordingly be deferred / stopped;



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