Upper-Caste Farmers Allegedly Encroach Land Allotted to Dalit Cooperative in Gujarat

Reported by

Rejitha Nair

Published on

June 24, 2021

June 24, 2021

Updated on

June 24, 2021

Location of Conflict

Jesda village, Rapar tehsil

Kutch

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Caste-based Conflict

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

698

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

850

ha

Starting Year

2018

State

Gujarat

Sector

Land Use

In 198384, the Gujarat government had allocated around 75,000 acres of surplus land to landless Dalits under the Gujarat Agriculture Land Ceiling Act, 1960. The Rapar Taluka Anusuchit Jati Samudayik Kheti Sahkari Mandali Limited, a cooperative of Dalits of Rapar tehsil in Kutch, were allotted 2,850 acres of land in 1984; however, the land was measured and demarcated and the Mandalis name was entered into the revenue records only in 2018. Though the Mandali is officially recognised as the holder of 2,850 acres, they have only gained possession of around 700 acres** **till date, as told to LCW by Ramji Bhadru, president of the Mandali. The remaining land allegedly is occupied by farmers from the upper caste. The land is officially in the name of the cooperative, and we have been paying revenue tax on the land. However, the uppercaste farmers have been cultivating the land and have refused to hand over possession to the Mandali. They have even challenged the allocation of this land to the Dalits in the High Court of Gujarat. The court passed an interim order directing to maintain status quo and restricting any activity on the land. But the encroachers recently cultivated jeeru (cumin) in complete disregard to the courts order. We have asked the Mamlatdar of Rapar tehsil (authority responsible for agricultural tenanted land) to file a contempt complaint against the encroachers, but nothing has happened so far. Why are they being allowed to cultivate and profit from our land? Bhadru said to LCW. The region is reportedly dominated by Rajputs, and there have been cases in the past where Dalit farmers were killed over land disputes. We need support and protection from the state to take over possession of our land as we fear for our life. The encroachers often threaten, intimidate and beat up the Mandali members. We fear that we will be killed if we try to enter the land, he added. According to Bhadru, the disputed land is wellirrigated with easy access to canals and earnings of about INR 25 crore, so the encroachers will not give it up easily. The Mandali has filed over 25 FIRs and atrocity cases against the uppercaste farmers, which are pending before the District and Sessions Court (Bhuj, Kachchh). The members of the Mandali are socially and economically backward and are living in abject poverty. If we get possession of the land, we can distribute eight acres to each family to cultivate and earn a livelihood, Bhadru added. In 2019, MLA Jignesh Mevani had appealed to the state government to offer protection to 116 Dalit farmers of the Mandali who were facing death threats. Meanwhile, the Mandali has been requesting the Mamlatdar to mediate between the parties and have been voicing their concerns to the state government through campaigns asking for protection. But the farmers have neither received possession of their land nor protection from the state.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand for better access to common land/resources

Demand for promised land

Other Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Private

Type of Common Land

N/A

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 Ceiling Laws, Other, Land Reform Laws

Legislations/Policies Involved

Gujarat Agricultural Land Ceiling Act, 1960
Section 2(9): [Definition of cooperative joint farming society]; Section 6: [Ceiling on holding land]
Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989
Section 3(1)(f): [Prohibits wrongful occupation or cultivation of any land owned by, or in the possession of or allotted to a member of the Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe]; Section 3(1)(g): [Prohibits wrongful dispossession of a member of a Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe from his land or premises or interference with the enjoyment of his rights]; Section 3(1)(r): [Prohibits insults or intimidation with intent to humiliate a member of a Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe in any place within public view]; Section 3(s): [Prohibits abusing any member of Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe by caste name in any place within public view]; Section 3(1)(za)(E): [Prohibits obstructing a person of Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe from practising any profession or carrying on any occupation, trade or business]
Indian Penal Code, 1860
Sections 319-326: [Definition and punishment for voluntarily causing hurt or grievous hurt]; Sections 349-352: [Definition and punishment for use of force, criminal force and assault]; Sections 503-506: [Definition and punishment for criminal intimidation]
Gujarat Tenancy and Agricultural Land Act, 1948
Section 4: [Persons cultivating the land of another to be deemed tenants]; Section 29 [Procedure for tenants, agricultural labour and artisans to apply for tenancy of land]
  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  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:

Delay in allottment and possession of land/property

Forced evictions/dispossession of land

Legal Status:

In Court

Status of Case In Court

Pending

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

No

What was the Decision of the Concerned Government Department?

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

High Court of Gujarat; District and Sessions Court (Bhuj, Kachchh)

Case Number

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

Physical attack

Killing

Whether criminal law was used against protestors

Reported Details of the Violation:

The upper-caste farmers often threaten, intimidate and beat up the Mandali members. The region is reportedly dominated by Rajputs, and there have been cases in the past where Dalit farmers were killed over land disputes.

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Nature of Protest

Campaigns (grassroots organisations/press releases/media)

Complaints/petitions/letters/memorandums to officials

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Mamlatdar of Rapar (authority responsible for agricultural tenanted land); Revenue Department

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:

N/A

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

Communities/Local Organisations in the Conflict:

MLA Jignesh Mevani, Kutch Zamin Wapsi Andolan

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:

Image Credit:  

Image Credit:  

Documented By

Text Link

Reviewed By

Text Link

Updated By

Text Link

Edited By

Text LinkLand Conflict Watch
X

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