A conference on land rights of dalits and tribals discussed the various issues faced by them in getting possession of the land allotted to them. Vijay Parmar, a dalit rights activist who attended the conference, said that the main concern is the Land Ceiling Act.
“This has been implemented on paper. Several dalits and dalit-led co-operatives have been given land under the Act but only on paper. They are yet to get possession of the land which continues to be with the upper caste members and when Dalits try to enforce their rights, violence erupts,” said Parmar.
The co-operatives alone have 1,60,000 acres of land but do not have the actual possession, said Parmar. He said in case of tribals, the problem was that though they have been cultivating the land for several years, they have no documents to prove their ownership.
Bakul Parmar, another dalit rights activist from Amreli, even claimed that former agriculture minister Dileep Sanghani’s electoral defeat was also due to land-related matters.
“The minister came in possession of 900 bighas of land even as the rest of dalits struggled to get rights to their land. Moreover, issues of crop insurance not being addressed also led to his defeat by a huge margin,” said Parmar.