Dalit community alleges social boycott by villagers


JALANDHAR, JAN 19: An alleged social boycott is being faced by the the Scheduled Caste community of Dehpur village, 20 km from here, by the inhabitants of other communities of their village. The Dalit community has alleged that land was allotted to them by the Punjab government about 25 years ago in the same village, but the Jat community of their village prohibited them from using that land. They alleged that they were also not allowed to use the common property of the village. The Dalit community blamed the village sarpanch, who belongs to the Jat community, and who made an announcement from the village Gurdwara, that those belonging to scheduled castes should not enter the village from the side where people belonging to other castes reside, and they should also not use the paths of the village for commuting purpose.

When contacted, Bakhshish SIngh, sarpanch of the village, outrightly denied the announcement. However, one of the gurdwara officials, on condition of anonymity said the sarpanch pressed him to make such an announcement. Ram Prakash, member Panchayat Dehpur, said the main reason of the social boycott was the land allotted to the Dalit community in 1972-73 under a special scheme of the Punjab government.

The land measures 5 kanals and 16 marlas, and has been registered in the name of 16 members of the Dalit community. He said the land had been given through notification no. 10174/4RG/74/44262 dated December 31, 1974. Bhajan Kaur, panchayat member and one of the owners of the land, said,``All the 16 people have been looking after the open land for the last 20 years, as the government had assured us that it would make colonies for us. But when nothing was done, 10 of us, including seven women, went there to clean the land. But two persons Balu and Binder, belonging to the Jat community, came and pelted stones on us and said that this land didn't belong to us. They also warned us against coming to that land.''

Atma Ram, another plaintiff, said,``We were told not to use village paths by the sarpanch a number of times.'' Ram Prakash said,``We went to Police Chowki Kathar, Adampur, and met Senior Superintendent of Police, Jalandhar, who marked the case to Adampur police station. But nothing has been done so far. We have now complained to the Deputy Commissioner.''

When contacted, Adampur police station SHO was not available. The munshi said the complaint came to them about two months ago, ``but its present status is not known.''

At the DC's office, the complaint was marked to Additional Deputy Commissioner Detective, Deshdeepak. When contacted, the ADC(D) said,``The enquiry is going on and it will take about a week for its completion

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