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 topic : Meet ‘Jungle Ki Sherni’ Her Team, Lone Guardians of A 250-Acre Forest in Jharkhand  #IndiaNEWS #Environment Every morning, a group of tribal women from Sarkaghat leave their houses armed with

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Meet ‘Jungle Ki Sherni’ Her Team, Lone Guardians of A 250-Acre Forest in Jharkhand  #IndiaNEWS #Environment
Every morning, a group of tribal women from Sarkaghat leave their houses armed with sticks and bow arrows. Together, they march to the forest that borders their village in Jharkhand, and then disperse into the deeper areas.
But don’t mistake these women as hunters or guardians against straying wild animals. They’re out to keep an eye on a different kind of threat — human beings. “We are on the lookout for people who enter the forest for illegal felling of trees, and prevent them from stealing our precious resources,? Kandoni Soren, one of the villagers, tells The Better India.
Keeping a check on mafia
Kandoni, a home guard with the Jamshedpur Police, is the leader of this initiative, which she began in 2011. “Our village lies close to 250 acres of forest. Seven more villages surround different parts of the forest, and we all depend heavily on natural resources available here,? she says.
Villagers at the forest armed with bow and arrow.
These resources include dry wood, fruits, and vegetables. “We always choose to collect fallen woods to light fire for our chulha. But in recent years, many people have been involved in cutting trees without seeking permission from the forest department. This has affected the natural ecosystem. We are careful about using resources and have shown sensitivity towards extracting them — to the extent that we do not have pukka houses, which demand high resources,? she explains.
The 30-year-old says she witnessed unprecedented tree felling from the forest. “Many outsiders venture into the forest and extract resources. But many times, they go overboard and exploit the land. They are gangs and mafias known for notorious activities. I realised that such practices would make our lives difficult, as eventually, we would run out of resources,? she says.
She adds, “Our existence is under threat without the forest. Only if we protect it can we survive. And every villager is well aware of this. ?
Kandoni says that many village residents were already beginning to feel the brunt of environmental degradation, and began migrating to other cities to look for alternate sources of livelihood. “I made multiple attempts to stop tree cutting, and even approached the village panchayat and forest officers with complaints. But in vain,? she recalls.
She approached women in her village, and shared with them her ideas of how they could protect the forest. The result was Hariyali Sakaam, a forest protection committee, which started off with just five women. The name translates to ‘green leaf’ in the local dialect.
With this, the women began venturing into the forest every day to keep an eye out for illegal tree cutters.


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