The Zameen Prapt Sangharsh Commitee Sangrur-Patiala for a prolonged period of five hours gheraoed the main gate of the Community Centre in Rampur Chatra village in Sangrur ,demanding implementation of land distribution reserved for dalit community ,from 12.30 to 5.30.The speakers of the gathering raised their voice against the auctioning of land at unfair prices and demanded a fair price.
BDPO Jaswinder Singh,Tehsildar Gurdeep Singh,DSP Saribh Jindal,Mlaerkotla DSP Ranajeet Singh,DSP Harvinder Singh Cheema,SHO Amargadh Jaspreet Singh, were compelled to stand on duty for 5 hours.
Leaders of Zameen Prapt Sangharsh Commitee Jagtar Singh,Maggar Singh,Harvinder Singh,J agdev Singh, Jagmel Kaur, Jaswir Kaur, Charanjeet Kaur, and Sukpal explained that the ZPSC would scrap distribution of reserved land for dalit agricultural labour community if it was sold at such unaffordable rates.They recounted examples of recent times where land was auctioned at much more than the actual value.
A memorandum was handed over to official Jaswant Singh, BDPO of Malerkotla, but by that time the land was already auctioned. BDPO Sukhminder Singh declared that in the Scheduled caste category only 3 members were awarded reserved land plots, including Kesar Singh and Balwinder Singh.18 bigha was sold for 2,95000, 19 bighas for 2,12000 and 11 bighas for 12,400.He explained that now the land auctions could not be taken back but steps would be undertaken to redress the grievances for the future and rectify the unfair auctioning procedures.
However the ZPSC activists with fury asserted that they would not accept the auctions that had taken place and they should be unconditionally scrapped. Finally the officials came forward at 6 o clock conceding the demands.
Even if a the tussle occurred on small scale the determination of the ZPSC activists was most encouraging in asserting their rights and confronting the nefarious anti-dalit agricultural procedures undertaken, with the administration patronising the upper caste sections. The administrators of the ruling classes were embarrassed to the very neck. A sustained movement has to be consolidated to implement land auctioning of reserved land at fair prices.
Harsh Thakor is a freelance journalist from Mumbai who has toured and reported democratic events and struggles in Punjab and attended programmes of the Zameen Prapt Sangharsh Commitee.