August 24, 2013 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Amritsar, Punjab (August 23, 2013): It is learnt that the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has, inter-alia, sought the intervention of the India’s National Commission of Minorities to halt the eviction of Sikh farmers from the states of Gujarat and Haryana.
A per information a written memorandum to this effect was submitted to the commission’s chairman, Wajahat Habibullah, by Avtar Singh Makkar (President of SGPC) on August 23, 2013. It is notable that Wajahat Habibullah was at Amritsar to pay obeisance at the Darbar Sahib.
In the memorandum, the SGPC reportedly pointed to the plight of Sikh farmers of the Kutch area of Gujarat, who were being evicted from their land by Narendra Modi’s government. The farmers are fighting a legal battle against the Gujarat government’s eviction order despite having won their case in the Gujarat high court, as the Narendra Modi government has appealed to the Supreme Court of India.
As per information the memorandum, submitted by SGPC, pointed out that these farmers had been tilling the land since 1965 and not all of a sudden they were facing a threat to their livelihood. The SGPC urged the commission to intervene in this matter and halt this eviction.
The memorandum raised the case of Sikh farmers of Haryana who were being evicted from their agricultural holdings near Pehowa. The SGPC sought the commission’s help to take up this issue with the Haryana government.
Step-motherly treatment of Punjabi language by Delhi University:
In the memorandum, the SGPC has sought attention of India’s Commission for Minorities towards the recent decision of the Delhi University to discontinue Punjabi language in its courses. The SGPC termed this order as discriminatory.
“This is grave injustice as it will deprive our future generations from knowing and studying their own language, in which they converse at home,” the memorandum stated while urging the commission to get this decision revoked.
SGPC demands release of Professor DPS Bhullar:
The SGPC also sought the release of Sikh political prisoner Professor Devenderpal Singh Bhullar. “We appeal for his release, as Bhullar is both mentally and physically ill and this has been certified by doctors. It will be unjust to hang an ill person,” the memorandum reportedly stated.
On Dastar and Kirpan issues:
The SGPC also took up the issue that Sikhs are being asked to remove their turbans at international airports for security checks. The memorandum cited the case at the Rome International Airport, where Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) chief Manjit Singh GK was asked to remove his turban.
Likewise the SGPC sought the Commission’s intervention to allow Sikhs to wear 9-inch ‘kirpans’ on international flights as they are allowed to do so on domestic flights.
Wajahat Habibullah, on his part, assured Makkar that he would consider and take up their demands at the appropriate level. He reportedly pointed out that it was the Minorities Commission and its member, Ajaib Singh, who had brought the plight of the Kutch farmers in the media and before the people.