Gujarat Govt Promises To Allot Land To Landless Labourers After Dalit Activist Set Himself On Fire
February 21st, 2018
A Dalit activist self-immolated after the state government of Gujarat failed to regularize cultivated land to landless farmers.
Bhanubhai Vankar, a 60-year-old Dalit activist set himself on fire in the campus of Patan Collector on Thursday. He died of burn injuries on Friday.
Subsequently, the government sent out a written note to Dalit families stating that all families that have been allotted land only on paper will receive the land physically within six months.
Bhanubhai was protesting against the district administration’s office due to their refusal of an application submitted by Hema Vankar to get the land she tills and was allotted in her name.
Vankar’s family accepted his remains after the government agreed to fulfil all of their demands. His funeral ceremony was joined by hundreds of Dalits.
Vankar’s death started a series of protests in the state. In Ahmedabad, the newly elected independent MLA Jignesh Mevani along with other activists was detained for protesting against the government. According to Hindustan Times, Mevani said, “The issue (of land) is our constitutional right. We have been raising it for a while now and Bhanubhai sacrificed his life for the same. The community wants the government to act swiftly.”
In a note to the family, the government wrote that the land case will be resolved within three days and the Revenue Department will issue orders then. The government agreed to the suspension of police officials who could have saved Bhanubhai from setting himself on fire and accepted the transfer of Bhanubhai’s son and his wife (both government servants) near their home. The government is also considering Bhanubhai for a posthumous award as demanded by his family and a compensation of Rs 8 lakh.