Five Dalit families from Gitapura village of Detroj taluka in Ahmedabad district have been sitting on a protest outside Detroj mamlatdar office, during the first week of Jan 2018, seeking residential plots that the Gram Panchayat of the village has been denying them on the ground that they are not residents of the village. Several people from the Patidar community, who do not want Dalits owning land in the village, also camped at the mamlatdar office in protest. The Dalits demanding land are listed as residents of Bhagapura village, which was part of a group village panchayat. In 2011, Gitapura and Bhagapura were separated into different village panchayat. The five families, comprising 30 members, have been camping outside Detroj mamlatdar office since January 16. The five Dalit families claim that in 2013, Bhagapura gram panchayat had passed a resolution to give them plots in the geographical part which is now Gitapura. However, the revenue survey numbers of the two villages stayed together and their separation was done only in 2015 as per which the disputed site where the Dalit families have been living came under the jurisdiction of Gitapura village. And, now, the authorities of Gitapura village are calling the Dalits settlement an encroachment and want them to be evicted from their village as they are technically residents of Bhagapura and not Gitapura. sarpanch of Gitapura gram panchayat, Ramesh Patel said that the resolution giving plots to Dalits in Gitapura village was passed by Bhagapura village panchayat is not acceptable to them and they have got that resolution cancelled from the Taluka Development Officer (TDO). Dalit youth leader and Vadgam MLA Jignesh Mevani met the protesting Dalits at Detroj mamlatdar office on 11th Jan, 2018. Mevaniled Rashtriya Dalit Adhikar Manch (RDAM) handed over a memorandum to Ahmedabad Collectorate, seeking resolution of the Dalits demand, on 12th Jan 2018. As a result, Dalit families have been promised that they can convert their agricultural land in Gitapura as nonagricultural to build houses. However, this land dispute case has thrown up a challenge to the political comradeship between Jignesh Mevani and Patidar leader Hardik Patel, who have been exhorting opposition parties in the country to unite against the BJP. In a Facebook post, Hardik Patel has referred to the protesting Dalits as antisocials and gundas. On December 14, 2013, Patidars had allegedly physically attacked one of the Dalits, Narshibhai Maganbhai Parmar, who was seriously injured. Their huts were set on fire. Women were forced to walk two kilometers to fetch a pail of water.
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