The Consult for Women and Land Rights (CWLR), New Delhi, a NGO, will organise a two-day seminar to make women aware of their rights and also, how they can efficiently use their resources.

The seminar, titled "Capacity Building and Leadership development of Muslim Women for owning and Managing Resources", will see participation of women and experts from all over the country. The workshop is a part of a series of workshops, to be organised by CWLR. Project associate Samreen Usmani said, "We have been working with the Muslim women for quite some time and realised that they lack awareness in issues like property. Also, they may own resources like cattle, but when it comes to using them for income generation, they hardly know how to use these resources."

The entire process started a year ago when some Pakistani women approached us asking about their land rights. They told us that although Islam allows such rights to the women, they are not aware of them. Usmani realised that most of the Muslim women are not even aware that the Muslim Shariat Application Act allows them the right to inherit, barring agricultural land. The condition is no better in Uttar Pradesh. According to CWLR, women in western UP may have managed to get some piece of land for themselves, but the community has not supported them in the purpose and hence, they have been forced to give away their piece of land.

There is a strong need to create awareness all over India. Since, UP happens to be one of the most significant states with a considerable Muslim population, the process was initiated here. The first of such workshops was organised at Saharanpur in April 2006, where even the Ulemas of Deoband were present. They promised the women present there that they would give them a piece of land to open up a computer and a income generation programme awareness centre. However, it has not been done so far.

The second workshop was organised at Fatehpur. This workshop will see experts from UP, Uttarakhand, Delhi, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra coming together. Naaz Raza, workshop coordinator, said, "We are inviting several women from the community who have shown us leadership abilities at grassroot level." Usmani added that the workshop will also try to gather public support for changes in the Shariat Act and include agriculture land.
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