Uttar Pradesh’s Sonebhadra district has become the epicenter of a major land rights struggle, especially after police repression and the arrest of several activists of the Kaimur Kshetra Majdoor Mahila Kisan Sangarsh Samiti (KKMMKSS) under the draconian National Security Act. The KKMMKSS won a land mark victory, not just for the local movement but also for land struggles across the country, when due to the strong and persistent political pressure created by it the Mayawati Government was forced to withdraw charges on activists under the draconian National Security Act within 10 days. In a historic decision, the state government has also agreed to the demand of the Kaimur Samiti for land distribution to Dalit and Adivasi families.
For several years now the Kaimur region and several districts of eastern Uttar Pradesh have been the focus of a struggle between the Forest Department and the forest dwellers, mostly landless Adivasis and Dalits for the return of the land that the local community claims as their traditional gram samaj land, been illegally taken over by the Forest Department. The KKMMKSS, a movement led by women, Dalit and Adivasis, has been at the forefront of this struggle. Repeated protests and clashes have ensued, while the Forest Department has refused to negotiate the issue or recognize the rights of local communities.
Since the enactment of the Forest Rights Act in December 2006, tension between the officials of the forest department and local organizations heightened with the forest department in collusion with the local police issuing threats and harassing innocent people. Their repeated statements that the Forest Rights Act is still not in place are actually contempt of the Parliament
The video below shows a Dalit Women giving her statement: