Dalit Women Farmers Threatened with Eviction under Gujarat Land Grabbing (Prohibition) Act

Reported by

Rejitha NairLand Conflict Watch

Last updated on

April 26, 2021

Location of Conflict

Vautha village in Dholka Tehsil

Ahmedabad

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Caste-Based Conflict

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

51

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

10

ha

Starting Year

2020

State

Gujarat

Sector

Land Use

Fiftyone Dalit women in Vautha village in Dholka tehsil have been facing threats by men from upper caste in the area to vacate 25 acres of land they have been cultivating for more than 30 years. These women came together in 1989 to convert a plot of wasteland (municipal land) into cultivable land. It took them 10 years to make the wasteland fertile. They have since been growing groundnut, castor and cotton crops, earning an annual income of INR 8 lakh. In 2017, as a recognition of the resilient efforts of these Dalit women farmers, then Agriculture Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama had sent out letters to local revenue officers recommending the transfer of ownership title of the land to the collective Jai Bheem Mahila Kheti Mandal founded by these women. However, no transfer of title has taken place till date. In October 2020, the state government passed the Gujarat Land Grabbing (Prohibition) Act. The Act imposes strict criminal liability, with punishment of at least 10 years, extending up to 14 years, on anyone occupying government or private land without lawful title or who continues to retain possession of land that was occupied much prior to the enactment of the Act. Since none of the Dalit women have legal title to the land, they are being reportedly intimidated and threatened by the dominant upper caste men in their village to vacate the land or face charges under the Act for land grabbing. "The Land Grabbing Act is being used to threaten us and take away the land that we have cultivated with our blood and sweat. Dominant members of the village are colluding with local cops to evict us from the land. We will give our lives but not give up this land, Balu Makwana, one of the Dalit women, told the media.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand for legal recognition of land rights, Demand to retain/protect access to common land/resources

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Common

Type of Common Land

Non-Forest (Other than Grazing Land)

Total investment involved (in Crores):

Type of investment:

Year of Estimation

Has the Conflict Ended?

No

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Land Reform Laws, Other

Legislations/Policies Involved

  1. Gujarat Land Grabbing (Prohibition) Act, 2020

    Section 2(e): [Land grabbing would include occupying land belonging to others, without having title to the land you have occupied]; Section 3: [Land grabbing is unlawful under the Act]

  2. The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989

    Section 3(1)(v): [Wrongful interference of enjoyment of land, and dispossessing a person from an SC/ST community are both offences under the Act]

Whether claims/objections were made as per procedure in the relevant statute

What was the claim(s)/objection(s) raised by the community? What was the decision of the concerned government department?

No

Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:

Lack of legal protection over land rights, Delay in allotment and possession of land/property

Legal Status:

Out of Court

Status of Case In Court

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

No

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

Case Number

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

Threats/intimidation

Whether criminal law was used against protestors

Official name of the criminal law. Did the case reach trial?

Reported Details of the Violation:

Upper-caste men from the village have been threatening the Dalit women farmers to stop cultivating the land or face charges under the Gujarat Land Grabbing (Prohibition) Act, 2020

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Vautha village, Dholka tehsil

Nature of Protest

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

District revenue department, District Superintendent of Police

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?

No

Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

Name, Designation and Comment of Corporate Authorities Approached

Other Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:
No Images Available

Documented By

Rejitha Nair

Reviewed By

Rejitha Nair

Updated By

Rejitha Nair

Edited By

Rejitha NairLand Conflict Watch
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