Tension prevails at Kassonan village under the Zira police station in Ferozepur on Tuesday after village sarpanch and her husband locked horns with more than 60 SC people over the issue of digging a pond on 5 acres shamlaat (common land). Though the situation was defused, tension prevailed in the village till Tuesday evening.
Zora Singh of Kassoana village, who is leading the SC families, said it all started from filing a court case against the sarpanch and her husband for allegedly digging a pond for rearing fish. More than five dozen SC families are allegedly being victimised due vendetta politics, he said, alleging that, "The rift took an ugly turn on Monday late night when some people tried to kidnap me from my house."
Ten people had filed a plea in the court of the additional civil judge (senior division) at Zira on April 16 that sarpanch Sukhjeet Kaur and her husband Hardev Singh were allegedly digging a pond to deepen it for giving it on contract for fishery purpose. They had expressed concern that the digging work might damage their houses situated on the embankment of the pond. As the matter is pending in the court, the sarpanch and SC families are at loggerheads.
Jagjit Singh Bal, block development and panchayat officer (BDPO), Zira, said the panchayat department had looked into the case a few months ago but now the matter is pending in the court. "I cannot comment on the issue at the moment," the BDPO added.
Zora Singh alleged that the sarpanch had found an excuse to target the SC families after the statue of a martyr, Capt Lal Singh, who was died in the 1965 India-China war, was vandalised by miscreants and the rifle in the hand of the statute was removed. "The sarpanch tried to implicate me in the case and also tried to kidnap me on Monday night," alleged Jora Singh.
"Over half-a-dozen armed men, some of whom were in police uniform, tried to kidnap me at around 1am when I was sleeping in the house. After neighbours gathered, the armed men fled the spot," he alleged.
The cause of the discord is 5 acres of village common land, which was occupied by SC families some years ago. Ranjit Kaur and Harbans Kaur, both residents of Kossoana village, claimed that 10 SC families have been living on the land for over 40 years, while five families are living there for 10-12 years.
Sarpanch Sukhjeet Kaur's husband Hardev Singh denied allegations levelled by Zora Singh and other SC families. "Zora Singh and another youth had vandalised the statue of Capt Lal Singh and we had filed a complaint at the Zira police station," he added.
When contacted, senior superintendent of police, Ferozepur, Varinder Pal Singh said he was not aware of any such incident. The police would look into the matter, he said, adding that, "I will talk to the police officers concerned," he said.