Caste Oppression, Land Struggles, Peasants


As reported earlier after brutal repression in village Jaloor of Sangrur district a joint forum named “Jaloor Jabr Virodhi Action Committee was formed and it fought back by holding a massive rally and demonstration in Lehragaga, tehsil headquarter . Demonstration at all district headquarter of Punjab on 22nd November was announced after a fortnight of effigy burning at village level. Meantime Mata Gurdev Kaur, mother of ZPSC district committee member and area president, who was seriously injured in attack by landlords was in hospital, her condition further worsened and had to be taken to PGI Chandigarh. She breathed her last on 12th November at PGI. Family of Mata Gurdev Kaur refused to take her body till the demands put forward by action committee are met. Action Committee started day night continuous dharna in front of DC office from 13th November.

Dalits, rural workers and peasants continued to throng DC office. Several rounds of talks were held but without any conclusion. Dharna in front of DC office continued for one week. On 19th November people marched to the house of Parminder Singh Dhindsa, Finance Minister in Punjab government and started dharna in front of his house which was to continue indefinitely, day and night. He instigated the landlords clique to make caste mobilization in counter to this struggle. At his instance they tried to mobilize people on caste basis and staged a dharna at Lehragaga on 21st November with few dozen people and declared to hold dharna at DC office. Meanwhile number of intellectuals, writers and activists marched through the streets of Sangrur in support of dalits of Jaloor. On 24th November, nearly 8 thousand people gathered in front of Dhindsa’s house and marched through Sangrur and blocked Delhi –Ludhiana highway. Same day, hundreds of cultural activists and democratic right activists held a press conference supporting the struggle of dalits of Sangrur and marched through the streets of Sangrur. In Longowal town and some other villages candle marches were held. Action Committee announced the conclusion of this phase of struggle and also announced that next phase will be announced on November 26th after the meeting. On 26th November meeting between the representatives of Action Committee and district administration was held and committee agreed to cremate Mata Gurdev Kaur. These demands were achieved as a result of this struggle. (1) Legal process for the cancellation of fake auction of panchayt land was started. (2) section 302 of Indian penal code was added to the case against landlords (3) All ZPSC leaders and dalits in jail were released unconditionally (4)Three out of five main accused and two others from landlords sides were arrested and sent to the jail (5) Process for the compensation of damage to the houses and vehicles was initiated .

Postmortem of Mata Gurdev Kaur was done on 27-11-2016, at PGI Chandigarh. Her dead body was brought to Sangrur next day and was kept in Gaddar Memorial Bhawan and was taken to Jaloor in a procession by more 1500 pepole. Procession marched through the streets of Jaloor and was taken to the cremation ground and was laid to the rest declaring her as first martyr of dalit struggle for land.