Dalits in Punjab's Sangrur Demand Lease of Shamlat Land at Reduced Rate

Reported by

Damandeep SinghLand Conflict Watch

Last updated on

September 27, 2021

Location of Conflict



Reason or Cause of Conflict

Caste-Based Conflict

Land auction



People Affected by Conflict

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)



Starting Year





Land Use

On June 8, 2019, the Tolewal Gram Sabha (village assembly) in Sangrur district passed a resolution to lease out 5.25 acres of reserved land, or shamlat land (village common land), to the Dalit community for cultivation at an annual rate of INR 500 per acre for 33 years. But the Block Development Panchayat Office (BDPO) that conducts the annual auction of shamlat lands rejected the resolution. The BDPO insisted on the auction at the usual rate of INR 20,000 per acre for one year. The price of Shamlat lands ranges from INR 15,000 to INR 20,000, depending on the location. The Dalits claimed that they cannot afford land at the governments current rate. They also claimed that any land on which the Gram Sabha passed a resolution could not be auctioned according to the Punjab Village Common Lands (Regulation) Rules, 1964. The 1964 Rules do not allow shamlat land to be given on lease for more than seven years. Even that can be done only under special circumstances. How can we agree to 33year fixed leases? the financial commissioner and administrative secretary of the Department of Rural Development and Panchayat, Anurag Verma, asked the media. The stalemate affected the livelihood of Dalit families in Tolewal village. They had planned to cultivate paddy on the land, but the uncertainty over the lease rate and period delayed the cultivation and the sowing season got over. Meanwhile, the auction of the shamlat land is yet to take place. There has been strong opposition from the Zamin Prapti Sangharsh Committee, (ZPSC) which protests every time the auction happens. In July 2019, one such protest led to a clash in Tolewal village between the Dalits belonging to the ZPSC and another group allegedly comprising uppercaste men in which 10 persons were injured and 15 were arrested.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand for legal recognition of land rights, Demand for better access to common land/resources

Region Classification


Type of Land


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?


When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Land Reform Laws

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:

Lack of legal protection over land rights, Non-implementation of land-reform laws

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:

Arrest/detention/imprisonment, 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:

In July 2019, during a protest against the auction of shamlat land, a clash broke out between the Dalits belonging to the Zamin Prapti Sangharsh Committee and another group allegedly comprising upper-caste men, in which 10 persons were injured and 15 were arrested.

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Tolewal village

Nature of Protest


Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Block Developemnt Panchayat Office

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:
No Images Available

Documented By

Damandeep Singh

Reviewed By

Damandeep Singh

Updated By

Damandeep Singh

Edited By

Damandeep SinghLand Conflict Watch

Support our work

Your contribution ensures continuity of this crucial project.

As a member, you will get exclusive access to special reports, policy papers and research projects undertaken by Land Conflict Watch and behind-the-scenes interactions with the writers and researchers about their work.
Contribute Now