Punjab Congress president Partap Singh Bajwa on Wednesday joined the protest organised by Dalits in Balad Kalan village of Sangrur district. The Dalits have been fighting for their rights over the panchayat land.
Accompanied by Dalit leader Chaudhary Santokh Singh, Jalandhar MP and Sangrur leaders, including former MP Vijay Inder Singla, Bajwa joined the protest and heavily lashed out at the ruling SAD-BJP government. He also visited Sangrur jail to meet agitating 41 Dalits, who had been detained by the police.
Bajwa said the Dalits had been agitating for the past several days over the fraudulent auction of panchayat land reserved for them. They had been demanding that the auction should be organised by lowering the reserve price and arguing that the one fixed by the panchayat was too high.
He said in the process, three Dalit members of panchayat had resigned. He strongly condemned the police lathicharge on the agitating Dalits.
Demanding immediate withdrawal of cases against Dalits and acceptance of their demand for lowering the reserve price for the auction of 478 bighas of land reserved for them in the village, Bajwa termed the lathicharge as unprovoked.
He said the Congress had always articulated the concerns of the Dalits historically and the party in Punjab would continue to plead their cause at every level. He said the Akali Dal had always betrayed weaker sections and has only been concerned with their votes, not their welfare. He asserted it was the Congress which was fully committed to their uplift.