Special Correspondent

Dalit groups and social activists meet Governor S. K. Singh

JAIPUR: Dalit groups and social activists in Rajasthan have asked the Governor to stop any move on the part of the State Government to amend Section 42 B of the Rajasthan Tenancy Act 1955 which prohibits transfer of land belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Tribes to the general category persons. The groups submitted a list of demands to Governor S.K.Singh here on the Human Rights day on Monday.

The activists met the Governor on the conclusion of two state-wide marches -- which had started on December 4 from Abu Road in Sirohi district and Jhalawar for campaigning against the move to amend the relevant provision. They included P.L.Mimroth, chairman of the Centre for Dalit Rights, Magsaysay award winner Aruna Roy, Communist Party of India State secretary Dushyant Ojha, and Kavita Srivastava, general secretary PUCL Rajasthan.

The activists requested Mr. Singh to exercise his authority to stop the passage of the amendment of the Act by refusing to sign it. Section 42 B prohibits sale, purchase, transfer or possession of the SC/ST land by those from the other categories. “We don’t want any kind of change or amendment in the provisions of the Act so that whatever small holdings these communities have at present would remain with them,” Mr.Mimroth said.

Among the list of demands made to the Centre through the memorandum handed over to the Governor is one pertaining action in the case of failure on the part of the Government officials to properly implement the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989. “We want the accountability clause of the Act, given under Section 4, to be evoked to book the officials who fail in their duty to implement the law. So far not a single official has been booked under this provision in Rajasthan though the instances of negligence are many,” Mr.Mimroth said.