Jagrutha Mahila Sanghatane (JMS)

#JUSTICE FOR _AMBIKA: JMS Campaign reaches out to young Dalit girls in Rural Raichur


Thanks to all friends who have extended support to JMS and for the solidarity. With your encouragement and with the active involvement of Ambika’s Parents – Madheva and Mariamma – the campaign #JusticeFor_Ambika – has now reached the young Dalit girls in the villages of Raichur (Karnataka, India).

Under the banner of this campaign young girls started to gather at JMS office for learning computer, reading and actively engaging in JMS yuvavedike (JMS YOUTH FORUM)activities. Youths involvement started with the introduction of Ambika and providing them her case story to read and help them to understand the importance of Education and Empowerment of Young Girls. 

Youth Platform JMS
There’s a great excitement among girls in the new space for learning that they have found. Various discussions on education, challenges young girls face along with hands on computer skills have added to this excitement. 

Ambika’s parents are part of this campaign. All pictures and images in this campaign involving Ambika, have her parents’ active and informed consent.

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JAGRUTHA MAHILA SANGHATANE (JMS) in Raichur district is a Dalit Women’s Collective of over 2000 women, led by Dalit women’s leadership from the communities. JMS now has sanghatan in 25 Gram Panchayats spread across 4 of 7 talukas of the district.  Initiated in 1999 as a community led organisation,  it has focused on health and healthcare as one of the key intersecting themes, among others. The engagement with Sub-centres and PHCs began in 2002, with a perspective of claiming spaces for Dalit women by regularising and legtimising their entry in PHCs, which was a space they shuddered to enter, then. In the series of community monitoring and citizen rights campaigns that JMS has pursued over the years, human right to health and right to primary health care, has been one of the prominent campaigns of JMS.
Since 2017, JMS has focused on  right to maternal health care services, as the declining public health services are experienced by pregnant and nursing women, especially Dalit women,  as very painful and indignifying experiences. In 2017, with interviews with 234 women very intensive campaign began to press for primary health care services using the evidence on maternal health care. In September – October 2018, again, JMS undertook a survey of 362 nursing women in 43 villages coming under the jurisdiction of 8 PHCs.
The campaign started with interviews by the community women leaders themselves and community meetings were part of such discussion. The report card is compiled in a pictorial format and pie charts with colour codes. The report of the survey and a general entitlement discussion is now being held in each of the 43 villages. The community level discussions converge in a public hearing in each PHC. Such a process has been completed in two PHCs – i.e. Paparao Camp PHC of Sindhanur Taluka and Byagwat PHC of Manvi Taluka. The process will now continue in the other 6 PHCS.
JMS has been doing this campaign with varied degree of intensity for several years now. Since 2017, there has been an intensified campaign. There are several changes one could see – increased ANC coverage, increased responsiveness to women in the community from the health care providers etc. Among the troubling factors two things stand out: informal referrals (directing women) to private hospitals for various reasons. Secondly, unchanged status of women’s HB. The average HB level of 362 women is at 9.3, only 8% women were at 11 (i.e. 28 women). Most of the women had HB below 8.
The struggle continues to revive primary health care and to engage health care providers in a productive  – supporting, cajoling and at times confronting – dialogue.
You can visit https://www.facebook.com/jms.chiguru.3 for regular updates.




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Poster - Ambika


Ambika, 13 years, is a Dalit girl who dropped out of school after 5th standard. Her parents are daily wage agricultural labourers and are residents of Jagir Pannur village in Manvi Taluka, Raichur district of Karnataka.

In some unusual circumstances she was found murdered on 26 Aug,2018, far away from her village. On a Sunday, she was taken by her neighbour (man – 25 years of age) without informing her Parents on Aug 26, 2018,on the pretext of taking part in a village religious/cultural fare (jathre), in a village about 30 kms. away on his motorbike. While the parents kept searching for her and complained to the police, the man returned late in the night. Next day, while Ambika’s parents had gone to the police station, he escaped from the house when the police came to search for him and committed suicide by hanging himself on a tree, without leaving a clue where the girl was. The police did not file a FIR on the missing girl nor did they put in efforts to search for her.

Four days later, on 29 August, body of Ambika was found in an abandoned area dumped in a bush, about 30 kms. away. While the police tried to hush up the case by almost forcing the parents to bury the body, Jms Chiguru (Jagrutha Mahila Sanghatan), prevailed upon the police to conduct post-mortem. Later, Jms Chiguru tried its best to move the police to do a thorough investigation into the case and to nab others who might be involved in this murder, nothing moved them. The National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) did not respond to the complaint for over four months. Moreover, local religious institution, instead of supporting the parents, tried to malign girl’s character.

Murder of a minor girl Ambika, signifies the issue of vulnerability of young girls, especially from the marginalised communities, and such issues largely go unreported, but for JMS’ intervention. JMS has resolved that NO MORE AMBIKAS is the only way to bring justice to AMBIKA, and has decided to reach out to 500 young Dalit girls from 50 villages for creating safe spaces for young girls. [Read More]


JMS Campaign for Maternal Health Rights of Dalit women – raises concerns about the sick health system

New Indian Express, 04 March 2019JMS campaign _IndExpress 04 Mar 19


Janaadhikara Abhiyan – Citizen Rights Campaign Continues

JMS’ campaign for citizen rights continued through villages, untouched parts of Dalit colonies of villages and march to the Gram Panchayat submitting memoranda demanding basic services…

Janaadhikara Abhiyana – Citizen Rights Campaign of JMS

JMS public rally demanding services

Feb 08, 2019 – Rally for public services

Jagrutha Mahila Sanghatane mobilised 300 women from 8 gram panchayats of Manvi Taluka who have been demanding payments for the sanitory toilets they have built, rectification of various irregularities in payment for their work under MNREGA [for almost 500 people payment not done for almost 50 days of work each, citing various technical reasons], and response to the drinking water problems in various villages.

JMS held a public demand rally in front of Taluka Executive Officer of taluka panchayat.

The EO was made to come down for negotiations with them. Women presented a village by village records for the demands that they had made. Documents were shown. Women aksed for a time-bound resolution of their problems. The EO called the computer operators who keep the records and Panchayat Development Officers (PDOs).
The issue of payments for toilet constructions, cattle sheds were promised to be solved immediately. A panchayat-wise date was drawn for meetings with PDOs to resolve panchayat-wise issues. JMS has immediately followed up with authorities in each of the villages.

CHILIPILI Alumni of JMS Continue to make headlines in Karnataka

Chilipili Child Labourers’ Special School which was run by JMS from 2000-2014, is still making headlines. Over 1000 Dalit children working as child and pledged/bonded labourers were liberated by JMS and initiated into mainstream education through a two-year residential bridge school programme conducted at JMS. JMS decided to close the school programme in 2014 and … Continue reading


JMS campaign in three electoral constituencies for basic community rights and communal harmony: ELECTORAL CANDIDATES SHOULD PROMOTE COMMUNAL HARMONY

JMS campaigned in 50 villages coming under three legislative constituencies – Manvi, Sindhanur and Maski – of Raichru district. They also submitted charter of demands: the demands included right of the communities for basic necessities –
(1) basic primary health care services should be made available for all in the government primary health centres
(2) Reform of the public distribution system and alternative arrangements of PDS for those who are deprived of it due to the bio-metric system
(3) Ensuring proper functioning and accountability of gram panchayats – regular conduct of gram sabhas and inquiry should be held in all the GPs on the irregularity of allocation of welfare schemes in the last five years
(4) Ensure timely and regular reach of all social security schemes especially pensions to the needy
(5) No contesting candidate should promote or encourage communal conflicts and they should promote communal harmony.

JMS Campaign for Dalit Women’s Maternal Health Rights

Jagrutha Mahila Sanghatan (JMS) is a rural Dalit women agricultural laborers’s collective in the district of Raichur, Karnataka. The leadership is entirely of Dalit (Indigenous) women. The campaign is wholly led by women.

Health rights issue has been particularly marginalized in the social movements’ domain and health issues continue to remain within the techno- bureaucratic stranglehold of experts, researchers and the like. Health NGOs which have been in the forefront of policy making have been gate-keeping this issue and infanticising communities on the pretext that “communities do not understand the larger political issues of health care policy”.  The campaign led by JMS women is counter-narrative against the NGOised, apolitical practices and processes of NGOised approach to health rights while simultaneously striving to hold the governments of the day accountable. JMS work and practice in the context of the present Campaign therefore provides insights for health activism in general and for community led practices in health rights realization in particular.

The JMS campaign provided an insight into what goes into the making of a marginalized women-led health rights initiative. Their capacity was built through workshops, discussions, and other participatory processes. A pictorial tool developed not only helped them understand their entitlements, but also allowed them to lead the communities with the power of knowledge, and their collective power allowed them take the feedback and demand to the policy spaces. The maternal health rights campaign that was woven around the processes of this community based evidence for maternal health rights of Dalit women, focused primarily on two key dimensions: one, empowered community leadership and two, claiming and accessing spaces of policies for community feed back and improvement of the overall health system.

The advocacy processes and capturing policy spaces: (more…)

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