Amala Devi resides in a village of Northern India, with her husband and father. She used to work and live in a farm as a “bonded labourer”, meaning that she and her family were only given 3.5 kgs of grain as payment at the end of the harvest.
With increased political awareness, along with members of the most marginalised community, she and her husband demanded monetary rights for their labour.
One day, Amala fell sick and couldn’t go to work. While she was resting, a group of men of the landlord’s family dragged her out of her home by her hair, spat on her, kicked her and beat her. Thankfully, a few people from the community managed to rescue her and take her to the hospital where she fought for her life.
“People were not sure if I would survive the physical violence”.
Amala Devi did not accept defeat – she filed a case against the landlord’s family, with the support of the community.
“Now I go to the court and the police station on my own. Mohni Didi, one of the leaders of a local women group, and the other women have helped us a lot; and we have decided that we will take the case forward till we reach justice and proper compensation”.
The result of the collective force of Mahila Dastak, the womens’ group, has been incredible. The harassment and threats to the community by the landlords have been stopped and, they have not made any attempts to reclaim the land. It is a victory not only for Amala Devi but the community as well. In the occupied land, the women now fish from the pond and also sell mangoes from the orchard.
Photo: Oxfam India
On March 3rd 2016, Berta Cáceres, an Honduran environmental activist and indigenous leader of the Lenca people, was brutally murdered for having taken a courageous stand to protect the land and natural resources her community depends on. Less than two weeks after Berta Cáceres was murdered, another land activist, Nelson García, was shot and killed for supporting Lenca people .
Join the fight and demand justice now! No more activists should pay with their lives for standing for their people’s rights! Sign the petition to stop the Agua Zarca dam project here: https://act.oxfam.org/international/end-the-violence