Staking their claim over reclaimed land in the district, more than 500 farmers on Monday held a protest rally-cum-hunger strike in front of the deputy commissioner's office here, stating that their "indefinite hunger strike would be called off only when their demand was met.
Led by Satwant Singh Vajidpur, district general secretary of the Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU), Dakaunda, the farmers were demanding that the reclaimed land - they have been tilling for over seven decades - should be transferred to them, as their forefathers had worked too hard to prepare this barren land for agriculture.
Talking to Hindustan Times, Satwant Singh said, "We have been tilling this land since 1935, and we have the documents to prove the land belongs to us. We will continue our struggle and hunger strike until we get the legal rights over the land."
On the first day, 11 farmers sat on hunger strike for 24 hours. They will be replaced by other farmers on second day, and every day farmers will be replaced to continue the agitation till their demand is met.
There are over 5,000 acre reclaimed land in the Patiala district located in the Ghaggar belt adjoining Haryana boarder. These were declared as 'Shamlat' land and transferred to the concerned village panchayats.
The farmers have been tilling this fertile tract on payment of nominal rent ranging between `2000 and `6000 per year to the village panchayat, as lease amount.
The farmers are also claiming that as per the girdawari, they are the real owner of the land and they also got electricity connections for installation of tubewells on this land.