In Jharkhand’s tribal belt, claiming land for women is an uphill task
The Naxalite problem in states like Maharashtra, Odisha, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh and Jharkhand has been tough for people living in the affected areas. And as if the women in these areas did not have enough to deal with already, they now have to fight harder for land rights also. Thomas Reuters Foundation has recorded that women in these areas are vulnerable to violence and eviction from their own land.
According to a survey done by land advocacy group Landesa, out of the 10 villages only 4 percent of housing plots and 3 percent of agricultural land was solely or jointly by women, as reported by reuters.com.
In the fight to equality, many states do have laws that allow women to own land, but due to small knit communities in the village, the elder or the community head take the decision of doing the contrary. In Jharkhand especially tribal laws and customs prevail where women do not have rights over land. But what do you do when the husband is no longer there to feed the family? The women have to take over and there are no means to earn a living.
That is easier said than done though. For women who do have access to land only work on it and cannot claim it. Many believe in superstitions and do not allow women to do anything with the family land.
Naveen Kumar, who is the head of research at Landesa shared with Reuters.com says that when they asked the women whether daughters should receive a share of parental land, only 20 percent said yes. It is not surprising that women would say such a thing as this mentality has seeped into their heads also because of the centuries long patriarchal rule. This is something that needs to change.