In the last 2 weeks the resistance of Dalit agricultural labours in Punjab is simmering at full fervour with relentless spirit.
Grameen Mazdoor Union protest in Jaitu
For the last 2 days the Grameen Mazdoor Union of Punjab have embarked on a protest dharna outside the office of the SDM, raising their legitimate demands of dalit agricultural labourers. Inspite of several memorandums being placed at the SDM, no heeds were paid to the demands. Thus the agricultural labourers were compelled to launch this protest
Youth wing leader of the Grameen Mazdoor Union , Agrez Singh Gora addressed the rally. He mentioned that for the dalit labourers to acquire the third part of the third stage of the Panchayat land distribution, it was imperative to award the allotted plots, alternative house to those ruined in rains, withdrawal of fabricated cases on dalit activists, pay the guaranteed wage of Rs 700 as promised by Manrega , and solidly built houses. He resolved that the agitation would not be withdrawn and dalits would fight till the last tooth, till the demands were complied with.
Prominent participants here were Paramjit Kaur, Gurdip Singh Rodikpura, Jalandhar Singh Mata, and Veerpal Kuar Bishnandi.
Around 600 persons converged, in a qualitative protest, with unflinching resilience.
ZPSC dharna in Sangrur
From 15th May to 22nd May the Zameen Prapt Sangharsh Commitee also conducted a sustained protest outside the District Collector’s office in Sangrur, highlighting demand of distribution of Nazul Zameen and the 2 year protest in village of Shadihari, in which the demands have still not been met. Showing no mercy, the police attacked protesters in Shadihari, making many villagers go the hospital. A new dharna has been planned on May 31st.
Pendu Mazdoor Union morcha in Jalandhar
On 22nd March the Pendu Mazdoor Union staged a vociferous rally in Jalandhar from Desh Bhgat Memorial hall to the district collector’s office, raising demands for implementation of the land ceiling act of 1972, which disallowed more than 17 acres of land to be in possession of a farmer. They asserted that today the act is only nominal, with hundreds of acres of land in the hands of absentee landlords or politicians. Leaders narrated the merciless land grabbing of the corporate s and the denial of minimum wages promised to labourers. Demands were also raised for distribution of Panchayat land. Main speakers here were Tarsem Peter, Kashmir Singh Gugshore and Avatar Singh Rasalpur. Around 300 persons participated.
Harsh Thakor is freelance journalist who has toured Punjab and been in contact with leaders of Agricultural labour groups.