Caste Oppression, Land Struggles, Peasants

Landlords backed by Police Attack Dalits Struggling for their share of Panchayat Land

Landless Dalits of Malwa belt of Punjab, especially Sangroor district are struggling for their rightful share in panchayat land since 2014 under the leadership of Zameen Prapti Sangharsh Committee and have won important victories. Ruling class parties, landlords, police and bureaucracy are very much angry at this dalit rising. This year also there have been pitched struggles since June which are continuing till date. Dalits are facing concerted attacks by landlords and the police is acting for the landlords by foisting false cases against struggling Dalits and arresting them besides using force to disperse their gatherings.

In village Jaloor, block Lehragaga, panchayat land of dalit share was wrongly and forcefully taken by landlords through fake auction. Dalits are protesting against this. They have held dharnas and demonstrations a number of times, but all these protests fell on deaf ears and land was occupied by landlords. Dalits in protest did symbolic harvesting. On 5th October 2016, landlords attacked their houses, injured men and women and damaged properties. Police instead of taking any action against the landlords, foisted false cases against dalits and arrested them.

On October 4, 2016 a deputation of nearly 50 women went to meet the DC. When they were returning they were detained and threatened by police and let off in the evening. On october 5 ZPSC organised a dharna at Lehragaga. When dalits were going for dharna, landlords snatched their flags and threatened them. Some of them were present near dharna site, along with weapons. After the dharna leaders of ZPSC told the police that they feared an attack and it was duty of police to protect them. Police assured protection. When dalits reached village Jaloor along with dalits from other villages, landlords, who were waiting, attacked them injuring a large number of men and women. The aged mother of ZPSC leader Balwinder Jaloor was attacked with sharp edged weapons, the shop of his father was looted. When this attack was going on police was standing on the outskirts of the village. When the district leadership of the organization called up the DSP he did not respond. At eleven o clock in the night, SDM and DSP said that they are in the village to rescue the people from other villages and asked people to come out. When they came out they were arrested.

SDM said that he had fixed a meeting of both sides to sort out the matter at 10 AM next day. But early in the morning landlords again started beating up people in the very presence of police. When leaders of the organization contacted the SDM and said that on the one hand you talk of meeting and sorting out the matter, on the other hand a carnage is going on in the very presence of police, he expressed his helplessness saying that the DSP was not answering his call. Most of the media too did not go to the spot but published the police version. None from the administration came to the rescue till the time of writing of this report.

October 6, 2016