The Legal Services Clinic had organized a Legal Literacy Programme in the village of Kootgal in Ramnagar on 5 April, 2009. So one fine Sunday morning, six of us form the National Law School set forth to Kootgal. The audience was a group of approximately 35-40 women who are members of the Devamma Trust. The LSC group performed a skit on domestic violence and dowry harassment in a manner that the audience could relate to. The skit was well received and the captive audience interacted with us following the skit. On being told about the Domestic Violence Act and how they could make use of it to seek legal help, some women shared their problems with us. The programme ended with us promising to return to the village for more such LLPs on demand from the audience. The LLP seemed to have been useful for these women and this made us feel like we were of some help.
Another thing we carried back with us is an awareness of the kind of problems faced by the people in this village, which we gathered from our interactions with them. The village does not seem to have a working drainage system with many residents having to bear with the stench that ensues. Also, there was an understandable fear of falling ill among the villagers. Another problem is that there are no public latrines in the village with the effect that open spaces close to the homes of people were used instead leading to unhygienic conditions. One other problem that the women were bogged down by was the inability to obtain ration cards. Many of them seem to be in dire need of the same and nothing has been done to secure them to these women till date. The other problem that we sensed was that the village was not availing of all the programmes that the central and state governments sponsor like the widow pension scheme among a host of others.
The LSC hopes to help the villagers in meeting these difficulties and solving their problems in the future monthly trips that we plan to make.
Just as we were about to take leave following the lunch that we were served, a woman came up to two of us and asked if we could help her with some property dispute. There is now another case for the LSC to take up in the future and hopefully a chance to help someone in need of justice.
Thus the trip was an eventful and fulfilling experience for the six of us who went. The six are: