August 12, 2013 | By Parmjit Singh
Kaithal, Haryana (August 12, 2013): According to a news reported by the India Today: [a]fter Gujarat, Sikh farmers in Haryana are now facing eviction threat. The Congress party, which raised a hue and cry against the Narendra Modi government’s decision to evict Sikh farmers from Kutch, is now on the back foot after a similar issue concerning Haryana Sikh farmers has reached the Prime Minister’s Office.
As per information the former chairman of India’s National Commission for Minorities Tarlochan Singh in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has requested the latter to save hundreds of farmers in Kaithal and Kurukshetra districts from displacement.
“I have requested the Prime Minister to save 3,500 Sikh farmer families, settled in Kaithal and Kurukshetra districts for the last 55 years, who are facing displacement threat following a court order. These Sikh farmers were settled by the then government of India in areas which later formed a part of Haryana state. The state government has asked them to vacate the land,” Tarlochan Singh reportedly told Mail Today.
According to the news reported on the website of India Today on August 11, 2013: [t]he land owned by the Sikh farmers in Kaithal and Kurukshetra districts is around 15,000 acres. More than 3,500 families were given barren land on lease for a period of 20 years in 1952. The lease was never renewed thereafter. The farmers were issued eviction notices in 1973, which was challenged by the affected farmers in a local court from where the case reached the Supreme Court.
The farmers lost the case in the Supreme Court but the court said the state government can extend the land lease.
“The court had said the state government can give the land to the farmers but rather than extending a helping hand, the authorities are trying to snatch the land from us. They have asked 100 families to vacate their houses,” Beant Singh, one of the affected farmers.
These 100 families belong to Karah Sahib village reportedly said. They lost their land in 2012 and now they have been asked to leave their homes.
“We are not growing any crop for the last 18 months. Now they have asked us to vacate our houses citing the court order. Sikhs are being treated as secondclass citizens here. The power supply to the village has been cut off to compel us to leave the place,” said Lakhwinder Kaur, a farmer.
This is second time when the Prime Minister has been asked to intervene in the case. “During 2009, when Indian Manmohan Singh visited Pehova, the affected farmers had requested him to intervene in the matter and safeguard their interests. He had directed Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda to take steps to protect the rights of the farmers. But the Haryana government just slept over the issue,” Tarlochan said. Haryana revenue minister Mahender Pratap Singh was not available for comments.
State Congress Committee president Phool Chand Mulana expressed ignorance about the case of Haryana Sikh farmers. “I have no knowledge about the case. I am currently out of Haryana,” he said.
It is notable that in 2006 the Sikhs inhabiting Uttaranchal’s Escorts Farm area had faced displacement, when their houses were bulldozed at the orders of Uttaranchal government. Those Sikhs had previously been displaced by partition of 1947. The Sikh farmers of Kutch area of Gujrat are also facing similar threat in wake of evacuation policies of the Narindra Modi government.