Besides losing their land to submersion and their livelihoods, the affected villagers face constant water shortages. In July, Bhan Sahu helped them stage a rally demanding compensation, which they have still not received. She is still actively fighting for the rights of these tribal community members, who are defeated again and again by thoughtless government infrastructural projects.
Along with her organization Jurmil Morcha, Bhan Sahu goes door-to-door and teaches the non-literate villagers how to file petitions, how to stage protests, and how to demand their rights. She unites them through a common purpose and direction. Many have begun to migrate to other places in search for small jobs and manual labour.
Bhan Sahu says that if the farmers do not receive their compensation by January 2011, as promised, she will again help to mobilize the people and stage a rally directed at the authorities concerned. She says that next time such a project is planned, she wants to see compehensive studies done by the engineers and government offices responsible.
If not for the intervention by our community correspondent, the poor villagers would have continued paying taxes for a land they didn't own.
Millions of lives were directly dependent on the once flourishing Apple farming industry of Kashmir.