Neeraj Mohan, Hindustan Times  Sangrur, August 04, 2014

First Published: 21:12 IST(4/8/2014) | Last Updated: 21:13 IST(4/8/2014)

Intensifying their agitation, 10 out of the 41 undertrial Dalit farmers went on an indefinite hunger strike in the district jail here on Monday.

The 41 Dalit activists of the Zameen Prapti Sangrash Samiti (ZPSS) were arrested for allegedly attacking police personnel and obstructing the auction of the reserved panchayati land in Balad Kalan village of the district.

The undertrials, who announced to go on a hunger strike, did not have food in the afternoon. They demanded immediate release of all arrested ZPSS members and re-auction of the reserved land in the district.

Those, who have gone on strike are Charan Singh, Dev Singh, Mitthu Singh, Raghubir Singh, Gurmail Singh, Dev Balad Kalan, Babu Singh, Mukesh Malod, Chamkor Singh and Parghat Singh.

Talking to Hindustan Times, a ZPSS member Shankar Badra said, “10 members have gone on a hunger strike, and others may also join them soon if our demands are not accepted.”

He said, “The police had lathicharged ZPSS activists protesting peacefully. Instead of taking action against the erring police officers, cases were registered against Dalit farmers.”

However, when contacted, Sangrur district jail deputy superintendent Hardeep Singh Bhatti expressed ignorance saying, “They had breakfast in the morning, but I am not aware of lunch”

Jail superintendent JK Sharma said, “Can’t talk right now, I am busy in a meeting.”

It may be recalled here that 41 ZPSS members were arrested by the police under Section 307 of the IPC for attacking policemen on duty on June 27. They were produced before the court which sent them to judicial custody, which was later extended till the next hearing on August 8.

The agitating ZPSS members have also warned of holding a protest outside the office of the deputy commissioner if the district administration “does not accept our demands by August 18”.

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