A meeting of Dalit Liberation Movement held here has resolved to stage an indefinite fast at Vellakoil in protest against the encroachments into Panchami and Bhoodan lands owned by them and demanding its retrieval from the land grabbers.

S. Karuppaiah, State joint general secretary of the Movement, said that the fast would commence on December 25 and it would be attended by members of as many as 16 Dalit organisations as well as about 5,000 individual Dalits from across the State.

“Of the 12 lakh acres of Panchami land given to Dalits as early as in 1892 by the then Chengalpettu Collector, J.H.A. Tremenhere, who was a Briton, majority of them have been grabbed away,” he said.

Similar was the case with the many Bhoodan lands given to Dalits with major chunk getting encroached over the years, he added.

According to Mr. Karuppaiah, both government and private organisations have been among those who encroached into the lands owned by Dalit community.

He said one of the major encroachments by a government-approved body into Panchami land in Tirupur district is the building that houses the Tirupur –chapter of Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), constituted under Act of Parliament, at Pethichettipuram in the city.

When contacted, ICAI (Tirupur chapter) chairman V. Hariharasubramanian clarified that the land in which the building stands was a ‘patta land’ brought from a private party about two decades back and registered under the name of Chartered Accountants Association of Tirupur (CAAT) before transferring it to ICAI.

“Both at the time of purchase by CAAT and transfer to ICAI, expert legal opinions have been sought, since ICAI being a corporate body, and clarified even the details of ‘title deeds’ which clearly states that it was not a Panchami land”, he said.