Dalits in Haryana's Bhagana Village Continue to Live in Exile after Social Boycott

Reported by

Elizabeth ManiLand Conflict Watch

Last updated on

September 13, 2021

Location of Conflict

Bhagana

Hisar

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Caste-Based Conflict

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

500

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

113

ha

Starting Year

2012

State

Haryana

Sector

Land Use

Dalit families in Haryana's Bhagana village fled their homes due to a boycott by the Jat community over a land dispute. They have been camping outside the Hisar district secretariat. They have filed several complaints and writ petitions in the Haryana High Court. The conflict can be traced back to 2012, when the Bhagana panchayat allotted 280 acres of common land to families living below the poverty line (BPL) under the Mahatma Gandhi Grameen Basti Yojana. The move was in response to the Haryana government's announcement made in 2011 that land would be allotted to every BPL family. But the announcement never materialised and the panchayat decided to take matters into its own hands. The sarpanch (head of the panchayat), along with the panchayat members, prepared a scheme to divide and distribute the common land among the BPL families. They allocated 1,000 square yards of land to each uppercaste Jat family while dalit households were allocated 100 square yards each. This was because the common land was distributed in proportion to the land that the residents already owned, and the dalit families were mostly landless. As a result, the Jats allegedly managed to corner most of the redistributed land. The dalits were also asked to deposit Rs 1,000 as registration fee. In February 2012, the dominant Jat community in the village decided to lay claim to a playground that the dalits had been using for years. On February 23 that year, the Jats uprooted the trees that the dalits had planted around the playground and levelled the seating arrangements the latter had installed. The Jats also claimed that the playground was part of the village common land. When several Dalits approached the government authorities seeking help, the Jats became angry and called for the social and economic boycott of the dalit community. Unable to cope with the discrimination, 138 dalit families fled the village. In March 2014, Bhagana witnessed a second exodus after four minor girls belonging to the Dhanak community were allegedly gangraped by five Jat men. The accused were arrested but later released on bail. The incident instilled fear in the minds of the remaining Dalit households, and close to 100 Dhanak families left the village. They came to Delhi to demand justice, where they stayed for almost a month and met political leaders and government officials. They returned to their village after filing a First Information Report. Some members of the Dalit community filed a writ petition in 2014 in the Chandigarh High Court seeking rehabilitation of the affected families and prosecution of the accused. In March 2019, National Scheduled Caste Commission directed the state government to rehabilitate the victim families and provide them land and their houses. But, the rehabilitation remains pending. In February 2020, the High Court closed the case pertaining to the alleged gangrape as the court was informed that the accused in the case were acquitted. Awaiting justice, some dalit families are living in make shift tents near Hisar District Court complex, said Captain Tularam of Dr Ambedkar Sangarsh Shiksha Samiti. " While many others have relocated to other nearby villages in search of livelihood," he said.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Complaint against procedural violations, Demand for promised land, Demand for rehabilitation, Demand for compensation

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Common

Type of Common Land

Non-Forest (Other than Grazing Land)

Total investment involved (in Crores):

Type of investment:

Year of Estimation

Has the Conflict Ended?

No

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Other, Central/State Government Policy

Legislations/Policies Involved

Whether claims/objections were made as per procedure in the relevant statute

What was the claim(s)/objection(s) raised by the community? What was the decision of the concerned government department?

Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:

Forced evictions/ Dispossession of Land, Lack of legal protection over land rights, Non-rehabilitation of displaced people

Legal Status:

In Court

Status of Case In Court

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

High Court of Punjab and Haryana

Case Number

Civil Writ Petition 9394 of 2014

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

Displacement, Sexual violence/sexual harassment, Threats/intimidation, Financial harassment

Whether criminal law was used against protestors

Official name of the criminal law. Did the case reach trial?

Reported Details of the Violation:

Violation of the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, since February 2012., In February 2012, dalits faced social and economic boycott for opposing the illegal distribution of common land. Unable to bear the discrimination, 138 dalit families fled the village., Four minor girls were gangraped by Jats in March 2014.

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Nature of Protest

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Bhagana Village Panchayat, Haryana Government, National Scheduled Caste Commission

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?

Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

Name, Designation and Comment of Corporate Authorities Approached

Other Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:
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Documented By

Elizabeth Mani

Reviewed By

Elizabeth Mani

Updated By

Elizabeth Mani

Edited By

Elizabeth ManiLand Conflict Watch
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