SC panel orders probe into auction of panchayat land

Move follows protest by Dalits alleging dummy bidding by landlords

SC panel orders probe into auction of panchayat land

Protesters climb down the water tank in Barnala. Tribune photo

Parvesh Sharma

Tribune News Service

Barnala, July 2

A team of the Punjab State SC Commission, led by its member Raj Kumar Hans, today visited Pakhon Kalan, where five Dalits youths had been sitting atop a water tank since June 24, demanding the cancellation of auction of reserved land. The commission has sought a detailed report by July 9 from Barnala SDM after a magisterial inquiry.

“No one would be allowed to harass Dalits. I have sought a detailed report on the issue. I have directed the SDM to inquire if general category landlords interfered in the auction and the role of Panchayat Department officials in the matter,” Hans said.

He presided over a meeting of senior officials, including District Development and Panchayat Officer Sanjeev Kumar, DSP Baljit Brar, Block Development and Panchayat Officer Parvesh Goyal and tehsildar Balkarn Singh, and checked official records.

Alleging violation of norms in the auction of the reserved land, five Dalit residents of Pakhon Kalan — Birbal Singh, Kulvir Singh, Pargat Singh, Jagsir Singh and Varinder Singh — had been sitting atop a water tank since June 24. Earlier, Bhadaur AAP MLA Pirmal Singh Dhaula had also staged a protest outside the Barnala Deputy Commissioner office for two days.

They have alleged that upper caste landlords of their village have got the land reserved for Dalits on annual lease through dummy bidders. “After the probe order, the Dalits have decided to put off the protest. We hope the administration will conduct a fair probe,” said Dhaula.

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