Common panchayat land row: Dalit committee holds protest in Patiala
Members of the Dalit community, under the banner of the Zameen Prapti Sangharsh Committee (ZPSC), staged a protest against the state government over non-fulfilment of their demands in Patiala on Monday.
Thousands gathered at the Patiala grain market and started a march towards the CM’s residence but they were intercepted by the police.
Protesters alleged that members of the Dalit community, who have been fighting for their rights over common panchayat land, are facing boycott from the society and being physically assaulted by villagers.
They said that upper caste landowners have fielded fake candidates to make bids on their behalf to take possession of the common land.
They are demanding one-third of the panchayat land to be leased out to them for 33 years, ownership of the Nazool society land, 10-marla land to financially backward people and work for a year under the MGNREGA scheme.
The protesting members are also demanding that those accused of attacking the Dalits at Jaloor and Tolewala villages should be arrested.
State president of the committee, Mukesh Maloud, complained that the Punjab government is ignoring the Dalit community and their demands.
Patiala sub-divisional magistrate held a 90-minute meeting with the protesters, where it was decided that they will meet state finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal at his residence on October 7. Following the meeting, the protest was lifted.
Sangrur district secretary of the committee, Gurmukh Singh, said the Patiala development panchayat officer also met them and gave orders to suspend the panchayat secretary of Noor Kherian village for allegedly conducting fake bids.