While a Dalit groom and the Thakur families of Kasganj district’s Nizampur recently reached a truce over their differences regarding the former’s wedding procession route, another crisis continues to plague Jatav families residing in the village.
According to an April 5 letter written by the father of Block Development Council member Sanjay Kumar Jatav’s fiance Sheetal to Divisional Commissioner (Aligarh) Ajay Singh, “strongmen” stopped water supply to fields of poor Dalit farmers due to their family’s insistence on a route through the village, which is flanked by Thakur families.
Requesting authorities to fix a tubewell in the Jatav basti comprising five families of the community, Sheetal’s father Satyapal Singh wrote, “There are no tubewells in poor Dalit farmers’ fields…and after the issue over our wanting to lead a baraat around the village, strongmen stopped water supply because of which crops have been destroyed.”
The divisional commissioner has promised that a subsidised irrigation facility will be provided to the Jatav families.
“I have directed the Kasganj district authority to identify a suitable scheme, perhaps under the minor irrigation department, to get borewell-supplied water to their fields,” Ajay Singh said.
He added, “So far the community’s fields were irrigated by water from the Thakur community’s water facilities. But after the controversy, water supply was stopped. We will move to get an irrigation facility fixed in the long-run. For now, the Kasganj district authorities have said that two groups have struck a compromise, so there is no problem as of now.”
District Magistrate (Kasganj) R P Singh, who brokered the compromise between Kumar and the Thakurs on Sunday, did not respond to calls or messages.
Kumar said, “Water supply to my fiance’s house and her neighbours has been stopped for the past month now. The 40 bighas of land are dry and the chilli, cucumber and wheat crops have gone to waste,” Sanjay said. He added, “I spoke to the divisional commissioner and the Kasganj district magistrate. They assured me that a tubewell or an irrigation facility will be fixed for us Jatav families.”
Village Pradhan Kanti Devi, a Thakur, had earlier told The Indian Express she had resumed renting out irrigation water to the Jatav fields at Rs 100 an hour in mid-March. She was not available for comment on Wednesday.