After more than a month, finally the police softened its stand against 41 Dalits lodged in Sangrur jail as police removed section 307 (attempt to murder) from the FIR. These Dalits were involved in a clash with villagers and policemen in Baladkalan village on June 27 when auction of 117 acres of land was going on.
The decision was taken two days ahead of a mega protest rally planned by the Dalits in the village, during which they planned to block state highway. Protest has been planed for August 7.
Though the land in question was auctioned at Rs 29.98 lakh against the previous year’s price of Rs 27.59 lakh, amid tight police security, members of Zamin Parpati Sangharsh Samiti(ZPSS) had also reached the spot and protested alleging that proper rules were not followed and they wanted land at cheaper prices.
Soon a clash had taken place between the villagers and the ZPSS members and three policemen, 12 members of ZPSS were also injured in this clash. Following the incident, 41 Dalits were arrested from the spot and were lodged in jail. However, though on Tuesday DSP Gurpreet Singh Dhindsa confirmed that section 307 has been dropped after re-investigating the case, but members of ZPSS maintained that their struggle will continue till the 41 Dalits are inside jail. Meanwhile the arrested 41 members had even started hunger strike complaining about poor food supply inside jail. All of them were lodged in different barracks earlie, on Tuesday they were shifted to one barrack and even food quality was also improved, revealed sources.
Though district administration had maintained that auction was as per law and it will not be cancelled, Raj Kumar Verka, Vice-Chairman SC/ST commission, on July 22 had stated that auction was not as per rules and administration had played a very bad role.
Verka had stated that 142 Dalit families had been denied their rights. He had also demanded removal of murder charges against the 41 arrested.
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