By
Kanchan Mathur, Shobhita Rajagopal and Radhey Shyam Sharma
Sponsored by Indian Council of Social Science Research, New Delhi

Belief in witches and witchcraft is an extreme form of gender based violence. Women branded/ labeled as witches face prolonged humiliation and often are stigmatized for life. Terms used for woman labeled as witches are Dakan, Dayan, Tohani. Specific Laws to prevent witch-hunting have been passed in several States but implementation is weak. This two year qualitative / participatory study focuses on three states two states where the Anti-Witchcraft Act has been introduced more than a decade ago i.e. Bihar and Chhattisgarh, and Rajasthan where labelling women as witches is rampant but where legislation has been introduced recently have been selected for study. A sample of 75 women, 25 in each state will be covered to document narratives and case studies. The effort is to study the differences in forms and manifestations of violence against women labelled as witches and to get an insight into efficacy of laws and intervention strategies. Besides an extensive review of literature the study has entailed wide ranging fieldwork in each of the three states to get an insight into the forms and manifestations of violence meted out on women branded as witches through their narratives. The team is also involved in probing the effectiveness of laws in protecting women labelled as witches and accused of witchcraft. The role of police, courtroom decisions and legal representations, the role of NGOs/civil society organizations, local healers, public health care providers and community leaders will also be being analyzed to highlight the efficacy of laws and arrive at intervention strategies.

By
Mohanakumar S
Sponsored by Indian Council of Social Science Research, New Delhi

This study has been undertaken in the light of the agrarian crisis in India. Initially the study was planned to cover seven important states in India. As the budget for the study was reduced, the coverage of the study was curtailed to include three states, Kerala, Punjab and Rajasthan. The selection of those states was based on the severity of crisis. Kerala was considered to be the highest crisis prone state followed by a moderately infected state (Punjab) and Rajasthan represented the least affected crisis prone state in India. The very objective of the study is to map the characteristics of agrarian crisis in the country. The study is based on a primary survey of 1500 rural cultivator households drawn from nine districts in three states. The primary survey and FGDs have already been completed and analysis is going on.

By
Jai Singh Rathore and Motilal Mahamallik
Sponsored by Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Oslo, Norway

Rajasthan is known for its vast common lands and livestock based economy. With the development of the economy, the agriculture and livestock based economy has taken a back seat, and the manufacturing and service sector have expanded in the state. It is a common trend in India that a large chunk of agricultural land has been converted into non-agricultural use. Further, due to climate change, there is an effect on the cultivable as well as well with the common property land available in the state. Encroachment of ‘common lands’ is a new trend in all parts of the country. This has a significant effect on the livelihood of people with ‘livestock based livelihood’. This study will try to examine the impact of shrinking commons on the livestock and livelihood of people who depends on livestock.

By
Motilal Mahamallik
Sponsored by Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Oslo, Norway

‘Land Grabbing’ is a common trend in the developing countries mainly post liberalisation. There are different actors involved in the issue of land grabbing. In India, the Scheduled Caste population with a small piece of land are the soft target of Land Grabbing. Due to their low education, low social status, low bargaining power, weak representation at different levels of government, and economically weak position these groups became the target of many. With this background, this study will examine the process of land grabbing, retaliation measures by the weaker sections of the population, action by different stakeholders, and the reasons for mobilisation of a people’s movement.

By
Motilal Mahamallik
Sponsored by Indian Council of Social Science Research, New Delhi

A large number of people in the cities are found to sleep in the open spaces of different cities of India. This is an emerging trend. With the shrinking of agricultural activities in rural area and due to frequent natural calamities, a large chunk of people have been migrating to urban areas in search of employment. These economically weak people are forced to sleep on the foot path of the cities in order to save money, and have to face a range of problems. In order to protect the interest of these people, after the intervention of the Honourable Supreme Court of India, central government and state Government have taken measures to accommodate these people in shelter homes on a temporary basis. However, it is observed that, most of the shelter homes in cities are underutilized and a large number of street homeless are found sleeping under the open sky. The present study will examine the mismatch between the needs of the urban street homeless and the provisions by the state for the urban street homeless.