Dalits return land, can keep houses
The fear of turning homeless has passed off for nearly 60 Dalit families.
On Friday at Bir Sikhan Wala village in this district, the Maharval Kheva Ji Trust of Faridkot and the families reached an amicable solution. The agreement says that the Dalits would remain on the trust land on which they have their houses but vacate another about 5 acres they use for various purposes.
The sitting down for agreement was forced by the outcome of a court decision on the dispute, in which Bohar Singh of Bir Sikhan Wala and others had pleaded for making the possession of land legal. The Dalits lost the case because the 15 acres, on the most part of which they made 150 houses more than 50 years ago, is the property of Raja Haridner Singh, former ruler of the erstwhile princely estate of Faridkot, which after his death, is cared by the Maharwal Kheva Ji Trust.
After the order of the Faridkot court, nearly all Dalit people on the land were illegal occupants of the site in khasra 342. After the verdict, however, efforts were made for settlement, which both parties reached on Friday.
After the trustees sought help from the court in executing the order, the revenue department had asked the police for force to support the operation to demarcate the site for the trust.
The kanungo of Panjgrain Kalan had first written to the police for security before the February 11 eviction plan but there could be no operation that day. The court had again instructed the officials concerned to implement the order before Saturday (March 2).
On Friday, a heavy police contingent, quick reaction team, and fire brigade were at the village to avoid any clash and the trust had the possession back smoothly. “We were there to implement the court orders but out of sympathy, the trust agreed to spare the Dalit houses,” confirmed tehsildar Darshan Singh Sidhu. “The MKJ Trust, however, will reclaim the land that is vacant.”
"Everything was peaceful. The force didn’t have to prevent anything,” said Bikramjeet Singh, deputy superintendent of police from Jaitu, who was at the site.