Thirteen years after a Brahmin-dominated village in Haryana’s Rohtak district donated land to an education trust, the matter is still hanging fire and has triggered unrest in the community. “There is strong resentment among the Brahmins over the dilly-dallying by the government in handing over a piece of land to the community’s educational trust. But the community is determined to take it,” said Davinder Sharma, a resident of Paharwar village in Rohtak.
The Brahmin-dominated village had in 2009 donated 15 acres to the Gaur Educational Trust for expansion and a resolution was later adopted by the State Assembly during the Congress rule to give it to the trust on lease.
But the refusal of the municipal body, citing violation of certain norms, has now become a rallying point for the community.
The alleged non-committal attitude of Chief Minister Manohar Lal on the issue and the political leaders jumping on the bandwagon has made matters worse.
The Gaur Education Trust in Rohtak runs a senior secondary school, an Ayurvedic College and a College of Education. The trust needed more land for expansion and the Paharwar village panchayat offered it. It is a Brahmin-dominated village.
Mr. Sharma said the “unwarranted” delay in restoring the land to the trust had not gone down well with the community members across North India. “Not just Haryana, members from Delhi, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh turned up to attend the rally at Paharwar on May 22 … the community is united and would not relent on the fight for its rights,” he said.
‘Teach them a lesson’
Paharwar’s former sarpanch Rishi Parkash Kaushik said the municipal body cancelled the lease a few years ago saying no development work was done at the site within the stipulated two years.
“It is Brahmin community land and donated for a noble cause. If the sentiments of the community are not respected, we will teach them a lesson in the election,” he said.
Sanjay Sharma, Haryana incharge, Vipra Foundation, a Brahmin organisation, said any attempt to stall the transfer of land would be the first such instance in the State’s history and certainly enrage the Brahmins
“We make a humble request to CM to transfer the land at the earliest to the trust. Any delay will further politicise the matter,” said Mr. Sharma.
Though the campaign for the land has been spearheaded by AAP’s former Haryana chief Naveen Jaihind, the controversial comments by BJP’s Rohtak MP Arvind Sharma against Mr. Lal and former Minister Manish Grover at the Sunday rally have charged the State politics.
Brahmin leaders feel that the resentment over the land row also manifests the community’s long-simmering anger over being ignored by the BJP for key political and bureaucratic appointments.
“Though Brahmins are the BJP’s traditional voters, and the single largest community in the State after Jats, there is only one Brahmin Minister in the Cabinet. Jats, considered to be anti-BJP, have , on the other hand, five berths, including the Deputy Chief Ministership… Even for the post of party’s State president, Om Prakash Dhankar, a Jat, was preferred over Ram Bilas Sharma, a Brahmin. The community has also been ignored for the appointment of chairmen for various boards, vice-chancellors and key bureaucratic posts. It seems the BJP has taken the community support for it granted,” said a Brahmin leader, not willing to be identified.
However, it is not the first time that Mr. Lal is at the receiving end of the community’s ire. In 2019, Mr. Lal had, in a lighter note, threatened to chop off the head of a party worker, a Brahmin, but the remark did not go down well with the community.