Dalits in Punjab's Barnala Protest Against 'Illegal' Auction of Shamlat Land

Reported by

Damandeep Singh

Published on

November 5, 2020

November 5, 2020

Updated on

November 5, 2020

Location of Conflict

Pakho Kalan, Dhilwan and Ramgarh villages

Barnala

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Caste-based Conflict

Land auction

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

6

ha

Starting Year

2020

State

Punjab

Sector

Land Use

Punjab has about 1.4 lakh acres of shamlat land (village common land) across nearly 8,000 villages. Of this, onethird is reserved for Dalits. Members of the Dalit community in Barnala district have protested against irregularities in the auction of at least 14.5 acres of shamlat land that is reserved for them. The land spans across three villages in the district Pakho Kalan, Dhilwan and Ramgarh. According to the Punjab Village Common Land (Regulation) Rules, 1964, about 33 per cent of shamlat land is reserved for Dalits and can be auctioned only to them. This land is owned by the village panchayat and is mainly used for cultivation. The annual open auction of shamlat land is usually held in April. The Dalits of the three villages alleged that the auction in 2020 was not fair as certain influential people tampered with the auction process. Having been reserved for Dalits, nonDalits are not allowed to take part in the auction. Yet, there were reports of certain nonDalit individuals placing their helpers in the auction process to acquire land. On July 3, 2020, five Dalit youths in Pakho Kalan village protested against the irregularities in the auction for 10 days by climbing atop a water tank. They retreated when Punjab State SC Commission member Raj Kumar Hans visited the village and requested them to call off their protest. He also directed the Barnala subdivisional magistrate to hold a magisterial inquiry into the matter. The district administration declared the earlier auction null and void and cancelled further auctions** **of the shamlat land in these villages till the inquiry is complete.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Complaint against procedural violations

Demand for legal recognition of land rights

Other Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Re-auction of the common land reserved for Dalits

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

Page Number In Investment Document:

Has the Conflict Ended?

No

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Land Reform Laws

Legislations/Policies Involved

Punjab Village Common Lands (Regulation) Act, 1961
Section 5 [Shamlat lands vested in panchayats must be used or disposed of by the panchayat for the benefit of the inhabitants of the village concerned]; Section 6 [Any person aggrieved by the panchayat’s decision to use or regulate shamlat land under Section 5 may appeal to the Collector within 30 days of such decision or action]; Section 13 [Civil courts do not have jurisdiction over any matter arising out of the operation of this Act]
Punjab Village Common Lands (Regulation) Rules, 1964
Rule 6 [Lease of shamlat lands will be by auction]; Rule 6(1)(a) [One-third of shamlat land is reserved for giving on lease by auction to members of Scheduled Castes]
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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:

Non-implementation of land reform laws

Lack of legal protection over land rights

Legal Status:

Out of Court

Status of Case In Court

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

What was the Decision of the Concerned Government Department?

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

Case Number

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

No items found.

Whether criminal law was used against protestors

Reported Details of the Violation:

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Nature of Protest

Protests/marches

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

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?

Communities/Local Organisations 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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