Over 30 Dalits were booked after a dispute over land between them and former Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) sarpanch Karminder Singh turned violent on Sunday in Macchi Nangal village of Amritsar.
The police allegedly lathicharged the Dalit group after they allegedly attacked Karminder’s family. The Dalits claimed that 10 people were injured in the incident.
The police, however, claim that the force reached the spot only after the brawl was over. However, pictures of the clash suggests that the police had indeed resorted to lathicharge.
Besides this, the police have also booked an ‘inebriated’ group of Dalits that allegedly attacked Karminder’s family.
According to the Dalits, 10.5 kanals shamlat land of the village was allotted to the 32 families of the village back in early 70s by the Centre under a welfare scheme. Each of them were given five marla plot to construct houses. They also claim to own revenue record to prove the allotment.
Police, however, claim that the former sarpanch’s family had sufficient legal papers to prove their claim over the land. “We are satisfied with the documents shown by victim’s family about ownership of the land. But the other party is not ready to obey court orders,” said Sukhjinder Singh,SHO Jhander police station.
Tarsem Peter, president of the Paindu Mazdoor Union of Punjab, said, “The Dalits could not construct houses on the land for all these years as their financial health was not good. Meanwhile, the family of the former sarpanch illegally took over possession of the land.”
Sharing more information he said, “For the past few years, beneficiaries had approached administration to demark the land to construct the houses. Recent application for the same was given on April 18 to the sub-divisional office via Suwidha Centre. Revenue officials came to village and returned after meeting Karminder’s family.”
“As the administration was not willing to give the land to Dalits, we decided to take it back on Sunday. But before we could reach the village, there was a strong police force waiting for us in the area. They attacked us when we tried to enter. The police also resorted to lathicharge in which 10 people were injured and they also fired in the air to disperse us,” claimed Peter.
The police, however, have a different version of the story. “There was no lathicharge or firing by the police,” claimed Sukhjinder, adding, “A group of around 50 people attacked family members of Karaminder while he was working in the field. The attackers were in an inebriated condition. We reached the spot after the fight was over. Four persons including a woman of the family were injured. We have booked 16 persons by name and 15 unidentified persons for attacking the family under Sections 307, 323, 324, 341, 427, 148, 49, 120 B IPC.”
Meanwhile, Sub divisional Magistrate Ajnala Anupreet Kaur when enquired said that she had no first hand information about the dispute nor the clash.