Dalit women seek implementation of Land Ceiling Act in Punjab
Protesting under the banner of Zameen Prapti Sangharsh Committee, Dalit women say excess land with upper-caste rich farmers should be redistributed under the land ceiling law in Punjab
A day after Charanjit Singh Channi took oath as the first Dalit chief minister of Punjab, hundreds of women from the scheduled castes community sought implementation of the Land Ceiling Act in the state during a protest in Sangrur on Tuesday.
The Dalit women, under the banner of Zameen Prapti Sangharsh Committee (ZPSC), assembled on the Dhuri road and marched to the district administration complex, raising slogans in favour of land distribution.
ZPSC zonal secretary Paramjit Kaur Longowal said that two land reform laws were introduced in Punjab in 1952 and 1972, but Dalits, who comprise 33% of the state population, got only 1.5-2% of the land. A large part of the land went to upper-caste rich landlords, who are still purchasing land from small farmers, he said.
Longowal said that as per the Land Ceiling Act, one family could own only 17 acres, and the excess land should be redistributed.
“The landless Dalits are facing caste oppression in villages. Only equal distribution of land can bring equality to Dalits in society. Dalit women are the biggest victims of caste oppression and economic oppression,” she said.
Raj Kaur, one of the protesters, said government institutes were denying loans to landless Dalits, who end up taking money from private lenders at high interest.
ZPSC state chief Mukesh Malaudh said: “Just a CM face will not change the fate of Dalits. Channi promised free water and electricity like Amarinder Singh and Badals but did not touch the issue of land in his first press meet.”