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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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 What does the law imply for a tribal woman? What is her interface with courtrooms, statutes, lawyers and judges? What aspects of law hold significance for men and women who live in the interiors of our society are economically, politically and geographically marginalised? Moreover who are the agents of law that they have to deal with in their day to day lives?

             The relevance of the legal institution shifts across class, caste and community.  Moreover, being oppressed as a woman is not the same in all contexts.  The sexual harassment that she suffers from her landlords or the police, or the fact that she is not paid even the minimum wage, or that she and others of her community have been deprived of the lands which actually belong to them is the reality governing the tribal woman.  On the occasions when laws are specially made for women they are enacted keeping in mind the middle-class woman, more so the Hindu middle-class.

             The agency areas of West Godavari district has been witnessing struggles by the tribals for land rights.  Polavaram, Buttiagudema and Jeelugimilli constitute the three mandals which from the agency areas in this district.  These mandals cover about 120 villages having both tribal and non-tribal villages.  The non-tribals are also identified as ‘farmers’ while the tribals are generally known as ‘labour’.  The areas with a predominant tribal population have a separate set of laws especially with regard to land and its alienation. The government has come up with a number of regulations taking into account the condition of the tribals, in terms of their ignorance, illiteracy and isolation.  Unequal power relations exist between the tribals and non-tribals.  The latter not only have economic power but also have access to political power adequately represented in the legislatures.  They also have the support of the bureaucracy and the police.  Given this situation any uprising by the tribals to voice their grievance invites the wrath of the non-tribals backed by the might of political power.

             The struggle to reclaim their land which is in the hands of the non-tribals.  In this particular area of West Godavari has been of fairly recent origin (about four years).  The struggle is now spreading to the neighbouring districts of Khammam too.  Land which the tribals are trying to claim is of two kinds. One is the poramboke or the wasteland, which is supposed to be held by the government and to be assigned to the tribals.  The second is the land in the agency area which cannot be alienated at all, but has been done so.  The state machinery is involved totally in the illegal land transfers to tribals with large-scale collusion between the officials and the non-tribals.

             By a judgment of the AP High Court, a series of directions was given to the District Committees of West Godavari district in Jan 1998 of which the most important was the survey of land.  The objective of the survey was to determine the extent of tribal lands, their illegal transfers to non-tribals, wastelands and their assignments and so on.  It was also specifically directed that is operation should be undertaken involving not only the district revenue authorities but also the non-governmental organisations mobilizing the tribals in these areas.  Though this work was supposed to be completed by July 1998 itself, the work has not even begun.  Had the survey been completed, land rights would have been properly demarcated.

             In the meantime, there have been frequent struggles on the issue of harvest in these lands. The rights to the land and its produce being in a sate of ambiguity has led to severe hostilities between the two groups.  This has resulted in a reign of terror in these hamlets.  The tribals are being subjected to indiscriminate arrests, verbal and physical abuse.  The arrests are mostly carried out in the middle of the night.  The police come to the hamlets with the non-tribals, the latter helping them in identifying the militant among the tribals.  The tribals are not even aware of the grounds under which they are arrested.  They are treated like animals, dragged to the police station, beaten up in public and on the highway as a spectacle.  The arrested are not produced in the court as legal procedure demands and are instead kept in police lock up for indefinite period.

             Even while the tribals are being released on bail, it is only conditional bail that they are granted.  The threat of being put in the police lock up is a chilling reality.  When women are being arrested, no women constables are deployed.  The women are abused in language which is obscene and most often threatening rape.  One such woman who has been spiritedly involved in this struggle liven in constant fear  of the police.  She now lives in hiding as the police have announced that rape is going to be her punishment.  She has been in hiding since the last four years.  Her husband and other members of the village are harassed routinely just know the whereabouts of this woman.

             On one hand, both the High Court of AP and the State Legislative Assembly took serious note of the matter.  While the former directed that a Special Deputy Collector inquire into pending land disputes and dispose them within four months the Assembly wanted an IAS officer to be disputed for the same purpose.  On the other hand however, the government seems to have treated the matter purely as a law and order problem and only reinforced police presence in the area deputing four special police officers instead! 

The New Indian Express, Thursday May 20,1999 

(To be concluded)

Vasudha M

The author is a practicing advocate based at Hyderabad



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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