On July 11, 2020, Dalits of Gharachon village in Sangrur district under the banner of Zamin Prapati Sangharsh Committee (ZPSC) chased away the landlords and their henchmen who had come to occupy pachayat land reserved for Dalits.
Dalits of the village led by ZPSC have been demanding re-auction of the reserved land. Panchayat Department had illegally allotted this land to ‘dummy’ bidders, planted by members of the upper caste landowners.
“Ignoring the bid of 174 Dalit families, the Panchayat Department had on May 27 allotted 48 acres of the reserved land to the second group of five persons, who are working as ‘dummy’ candidate for the upper caste. Today, the ‘dummy’ bidders, with the help of upper caste members, tried to take the possession of the land, but our group opposed them,” alleged Mukesh Malaud, president of the Zameen Prapati Sangharash committee (ZPSC) told The Tribune.
When landlords and their henchmen tried to take possession of the land, Dalits raised slogans and opposed their taking occupation. Dalits chased them away. Police came but sensing the determination of Dalits, did not intervene in favour of landlords.
A ZPSC leader Bikkar Singh was quoted in a newspaper report “We have met senior officers many times for a re-auction, but no one paid heed to our demand. Now, the other group wants to take possession of the land forcibly. We have been sitting on an indefinite protest. We will not allow upper caste members to take the reserved land through dummy bidders.”
Dalits under the leadership of ZPSC who have been waging a struggle for Dalit share of panchayat land, have been opposing dummy auctions being conducted by Panchayat department giving land to candidates who bid on behalf of upper caste landlords.