January 2016
Jallikattu as a Spectacle of Patriarchy

Jallikattu has become a contentious issue wherein cattle protection and rights are interwoven with human identity politics in India. In this article,

Narratives of Dalit Inclusion and Exclusion in Formulating and Implementing the Forest Rights Act, 2006

This Report traces the narratives of inclusion and exclusion of Dalit forest-dwelling communities in the process of formulating and implementing the Forest Rights Act, 2006 (FRA). The process of formulating the FRA saw the creation of a new category of beneficiaries called ‘Other Traditional Forest Dwellers’ (OTFDs), which includes Dalit forest-dwelling communities. This Report documents the politics and priorities that paved the way for such a classification to emerge. It lays the foundation for a theory of evidentiary bias, which forms the legal basis of exclusion of Dalit forest-dwelling communities and OTFDs, as they are required to provide 75 years of evidence to claim their tenure rights despite not being in a position to access such evidence. The Report explores the strategies of resistance adopted by Dalit forest-dwelling communities in overcoming this evidentiary barrier by exploring the different scripts of resistance developed by communities in Chitrakoot and Sonbhadra in Uttar Pradesh, and Kandhamal in Odisha. The Report concludes by unpacking the relationship between untouchability, caste bias and the implementation of the FRA. This PDF was revised and uploaded on January 18, 2016, to correct an error in footnote 5. [PDF 0.97 MB]

The Plight of Kashmiri Half-Widows

This report examines transitional justice in Kashmir from the perspective of a unique category of women. The insurgency in Kashmir that began in 1989 brought forth the category of ‘half-widows’. Half-widows are the wives of the disappeared men in Kashmir, who are uncertain about the status and whereabouts of their husbands. However, since this category does not have the legitimacy of the law, and is born out of the identity of the disappeared man, it is not justiciable in a court of law. This makes it almost impossible to include women’s rights into the transitional justice paradigm within Kashmir. This Report, therefore, documents the experiences of these women vis-à-vis the reparations structure that was developed following the conflict. The Report uses the experiences of these women to indicate how during the course of transitional justice mechanisms, the experiences and needs of women are noticeably missing or silenced by the general discourse of accounting for the past. This study is an attempt to bridge two disciplines — women’s rights and transitional justice — though it seems immensely problematic in Kashmir because of how incomplete or even exclusionary the disciplines seem to become when attempted to stitch together during conflict. The Report traces the trajectory that enforced disappearance, as an unchecked, undocumented, fragmented crime, has taken in Kashmir and how this affects the lives of women who survived their husbands. For this research paper, the author interviewed 55 women whose lived realities, along with her understanding of the extant reparations paradigm shaped this research project. This Report endeavours to make a case for policy changes towards the welfare of these women — whether social, psychological, economic or financial. The author hopes that this research will aid in changing the current environment in which international law in India, and by extension in Kashmir, is enforced. Such an exercise will also help in preparing for a gendered reparations structure, while entrenching the narratives of the half-widows. [PDF 1.60 MB]

Anup Chetia’s Return a Shot in the Arm for Assam Peace Process

The fragile peace process in strife-torn Assam appears likely to get a fresh impetus after the return of Anup Chetia, the northeastern State’s most ta

Why New Delhi and Islamabad Need to Get Stakeholders on Board

Interest in Pakistan cuts across party affiliations in the Indian Punjab. It is much the same story on the other side though the Pakistani Punjab is o