Land Mafia Allegedly Attacks Dalit Farmers in Bihar Demanding Land Ownership

Reported by

Aditi PatilLand Conflict Watch

Last updated on

August 9, 2021

Location of Conflict

Runni Saidpur

Sitamarhi

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Caste-Based Conflict

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

1517

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

4

ha

Starting Year

2003

State

Bihar

Sector

Land Use

In Runni Saidpur village in Bihar's Sitamarhi district, 316 landless Dalit families, who have been living on 10.7 acres of land since 2003, have been claiming ownership over the land under the Dakhal Dehani programme of the Bihar government, which allows landless people to take possession of the land on which they have been living for many years. The Dalits are being supported by the All India Kisan Sabha and All India Agricultural Workers Union. After multiple visits to various government offices, the block circle officer finally inspected the disputed land in early January 2019, and it was decided that the Dalit families will receive the ownership papers. But soon after, the circle officer went on a long leave due to health problems, and the responsibility was shifted to Block Development Officer (BDO) Saroj Baitha. On January 10, 2019, the BDO visited the area accompanied by 100 policemen. They were allegedly also accompanied by the local land mafia. The BDO informed the Dalits that he would conduct the inspection again and then take a decision regarding the ownership. The Dalits protested and clashed with the policemen, during which several local women were hurt. This further angered the protesters, and they sat on an indefinite hunger strike from January 11, 2019, demanding legal documents proving their ownership over the land. The Dalits claim that the local administration is siding with the uppercaste land owners, who do not want the Dalits to get this tract of land.  On January 16, the BDO called the Dalit representatives for a meeting. Just as they were about to leave the protest for the meeting, they were attacked by the land mafia, who hurled a petrol bomb at Devendra Jadav, their leader, which he narrowly missed. But two of the protesters, Binda Sahni and a Dalit woman named Anari Devi, were critically injured, along with several others. The Dalits decided to call off the hunger strike after the incident. They organised a protest rally with the call, Chalo Runni Saidpur.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand for legal recognition of land rights, Complaint against procedural violations, Demand for promised land

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Private

Type of Common Land

Total investment involved (in Crores):

Type of investment:

Year of Estimation

Has the Conflict Ended?

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Land Reform Laws, Central/State Government Policy, Other, Land Ceiling Laws

Legislations/Policies Involved

  1. Operation Bhoomi Dakhal Dehani, 2015

    The objective of this policy is to help Dalits take possession of land they have titles over.

  2. Bihar Land Disputes Resolution Act, 2009

    Section 4(1),(b),(g) [Disputes pertaining to the restoration of the right of an allottee, or for the declaration of the right of person, shall go before the Competent Authority]

  3. Bihar Land Reforms (Fixation of Ceiling Area and Acquisition of Surplus Land) Act, 1951

    Section 27(1) [Disposal of 50 per cent of the surplus land to landless persons belonging to the Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe or Backward Classes]

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:

Legal Status:

Out of Court

Status of Case In Court

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

Case Number

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

Physical attack

Whether criminal law was used against protestors

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

Reported Details of the Violation:

On January 16, 2019, goons belonging to the land mafia and landlords threw a petrol bomb at a protest led by All India Kisan Sabha leader and local committee secretary Devendra Jadav. The bomb was flung at Yadav, but it missed its target and hit a protester, Binda Sahni, who sustained 100 per cent burns and died at the hospital on January 20. Anari Devi, a woman from the Dalit community, also sustained serious burns on the back and arms, but she survived.

Date of Violation

January 16, 2019

Location of Violation

Nature of Protest

Complaints, petitions, memorandums to officials , Development of a network or collective action , Hunger strikes

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Bihar government

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:

All India Kisan Sabha, All India Agricultural Workers Union

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:
No Images Available

Documented By

Aditi Patil

Reviewed By

Aditi Patil

Updated By

Aditi Patil

Edited By

Aditi PatilLand Conflict Watch
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