NEW DELHI: Samaribal, 80, has been fighting for her land patta in Balodabazar in Chhattisgarh for almost two decades now.
A victim of bonded labour and subsequently of landlessness after being rescued, Bai says she is not ready to give up.
“We have been staying in this land for decades and we continue to face the threat of eviction from forest officials,” said Bai.
Ahead of the November 26 hearing of the Supreme Court on the Forest Rights Act of tribal people in the country, Bai and several others came to the capital to speak about their struggle with getting their land records recognised.
On Thursday, the communities will protest against the alleged diversion of forest lands being diverted and the denial of their rights in the capital. Intimidation and the looming threat of eviction are a daily part of their lives, said activist Vimla Vishwapremi.
“Forest officials regularly come and intimidate us. When we protested, the officials lodged cases against women in the community, including my daughter-in-law who had just given birth and was not involved in the incident.
When a woman fainted during the heated exchange, forest officials said we were giving excuses,” said a woman from Uttarakhand.
Kamla Devi from Udham Singh Nagar in Uttarakhand said while the government had given a statement that their lands would be recognised, no official documentation has been given to them.
“We continue to live in uncertainty with the lack of official documentation that we are entitled to our land,” said Devi.