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

Reported by

Damandeep Singh

Published on

November 5, 2020

November 5, 2020

Updated on

November 5, 2020

Location of Conflict

Tolewal

Sangrur

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Caste-based Conflict

Land auction

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

2

ha

Starting Year

2019

State

Punjab

Sector

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

Other Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand for shamlat land to be leased to Dalits for 33 years at the rate of INR 500 per acre

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) Rules, 1964
Rule 6: [Lease of shamlat lands will be by auction]; Rule 6(2): [Shamlat land may not be leased for more than three years if it has been cultivated, and no more than seven years if it has not been cultivated]; Rule 6(2)(a): [The auction shall be subject to the approval of the panchayat samiti]; Rule 6(3): [With prior approval of the state government, land vested in a panchayat may be leased out for a period of up to 33 years for industrial, commercial, educational or other professional purposes]; Rule 8: [Shamlat land declared as pasturable by a resolution issued by the panchayat may be utilised by the residents of the village for grazing purposes]
Punjab Village Common Lands (Regulation) Act, 1961
Section 5: [Shamlat land vested in panchayat must be used or disposed of by the panchayat for the benefit of the inhabitants of the village concerned]
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    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  4. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  5. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  6. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  7. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

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

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:

Arrest/detention/imprisonment

Physical attack

Whether criminal law was used against protestors

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

Protests/marches

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?

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:

Image Credit:  

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Documented By

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Reviewed By

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Updated By

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Edited By

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