Punjab:No solution in sight to land dispute at Khawaspur village
Dalit families gather to oppose the police and the district administration at Khawaspur village.
The controversy over possession of land in Khawaspur village, 20 km from Tarn Taran, has become a bone of contention for the administration. While the village sarpanch claims that the land (measuring 21 kanals and 8 marlas) belongs to a village family, Bhupinder Singh Bittu, a senior Congress leader, is of the view that it is the common land and the village panchayat is the owner of the land.
Bittu says that as many as 120 Dalit families had been allotted the land decades ago. Many of the families have constructed their ‘pucca’ houses on it while others have pitched temporary tents. The issue became more serious a month ago when the village sarpanch, a right-hand man of Khadoor Sahib MLA Ramanjit Singh Sikki, tried to get the land vacated from the families. Then Bhupinder Singh Bittu came to the aid of the Dalit families. On the other hand, he was booked for molesting the woman who claims to be the owner of the controversial land. The police do not arrest him, though he is available in the village leading the Dalit families.
The administration and the police too tried to get the land vacated from the families. Members of the families keep sitting near their hutments round the clock and keep a watchful eye in the night also. With members of the families sitting on a dharna near their hutments for 24 hours for the last many days, a heavy police force has been deployed at the venue to observe the situation day and night.
On November 28 (last Thursday), when Duty Magistrate Abhishek Verma went to the spot with a heavy police force to get the land vacated, he had to face strong resistance from the Dalit families. The village was turned into a police cantonment. The women members of the families warned the administration that they would set themselves ablaze in case the administration tried to uproot them forcefully. The families had the bottles of kerosene oil too in their hands which prevented the administration from taking action.
Ravinderpal Singh, DSP, Goindwal Sahib, said the Duty Magistrate did not have the orders to get the land vacated from them. The issue has exposed internal conflict in the ruling Congress party. Bhupinder Singh Bittu was the district president of the AAP before the Lok Sabha elections held this year and joined the Congress party during the elections.
A right-hand man of Jasbir Singh Dimpa, MP from Khadoor Sahib, Bittu did not share cordial relations with MLA Ramanjit Singh Sikki. Sources said the internal conflict in the ruling party was the reason behind the issue not being solved.
Courtesy: The Tribune