Amaninder Pal Sharma,TNN | Jun 12, 2014, 05.20 AM IST

PATIALA: Already in news for allegedly organizing a boycott of dalits, upper caste community of Baupur village in Sangrur district had announced that penalty of Rs 21,000 would be imposed in case any member interacted with a dalit in the village, revealed a draft report of an independent fact finding team which visited the village last month.

The upper caste villagers boycotted dalits last month, after members of the lower caste community demanded one-third of village common agriculture land on rent.

Claiming that an announcement to boycott dalits was made from the village’s religious place on Mach 16, the report, quoting the announcement, reads, “Nobody shall take these people on work, ban their entry in fields, cut off any exchange of ghee, milk or lassi…anybody who shall keep contact with dalits will have to pay a fine of Rs 21,000”.

The incident hogged the headlines after Rajesh Bagha, chairman of Punjab Scheduled Castes Commission, visited the village last week. Krishan Singh, who represents dalits of the village, claimed that the boycott was still continuing in some form or other. “On the other hand, district and police officials are claiming that there is no boycott,” he added.

So much so that two dalit families reportedly migrated from the village on Tuesday due to unavailability of job.

The report is prepared by the research scholar of Punjabi University, Patiala, members of Students for Society (SFS), Panjab University, Chandigarh, and a Chandigarh-based NGO “Lokayat”.

The report said the village has 81 acres of agricultural common land, out of which 27 acres are reserved for dalits.

“As it is a prevalent practice all over Punjab, the land reserved for dalits is never cultivated by them. The dominant landlords bid for the land on dalits’ names. So generally the Jats would bid for around Rs 50,000 to 60,000 per acre, which is obviously not affordable by the dalits who don’t have any means or resources”.

This time the dalits refused. They decided to get the land by their collective efforts so that they could get the land for the collective farming, which ultimately led to their boycott,” reads the report.

Krishan Singh said the bidding for village common land could not be materialized despite three attempts by the administration.

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