Independent MLA from Vadgam constituency and Dalit youth leader, Jignesh Mevani, met Governor O P Kohli on Monday and submitted a memorandum seeking protection for 116 Dalit families in Bhachau and Rapar talukas of the Kutch district.
The families who received agricultural land parcels under the provisions of the Agriculture Land Ceiling (ALC) Act are unable to cultivate it due to alleged encroachment on it by non-Dalits, Mevani said in the memorandum.
Mevani told The Indian Express that under the provisions of the ALC Act, 116 Dalits were allocated agriculture land in 1984, its total size being around 4,000 acres. “Due to encroachment on these land, the 116 Dalits are unable to cultivate it as they feel threatened by the non-Dalits holding illegal possession on the land for the past 35 years. In the absence of any safety, the Dalits fear for their lives and the process to take the actual possession of these land parcels has not been happening,” said Mevani.
“We demand that the state machinery takes preventive steps against those non-Dalits who are holding illegal possession of the land parcels and ensure that the life of none of the 116 Dalit families gets jeopardised,” he added. “We fear that there is serious danger to their lives from the non-Dalits. We met the Chief Minister and Home Minister earlier,” Mevani added.