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Cause of Concern: Sikhs in Gujrat’s Kutch area fear displacement

September 5, 2012 | By

Chandigarh/Punjab (September 05, 2012): According to reports the Sikh farmers who have settled in the State of Gujarat in India have accused the Narendra Modi led Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) government of harassing them by taking drastic measures to take over their agricultural land cultivated by them for decades.

A delegation of Sikh farmersbelonging to Rann of Kutch area of Gujarat, has gone to their home states of Punjab and Haryana to sensitise the two state governments about the gravity of the situation after the then Kutch collector froze their agriculture accounts, saying they were holding the land illegally.

“The Gujarat government has put a “freeze” on the land-holdings of hundreds of farmers by invoking the Bombay Tenancy and Agricultural Lands Act, 1958, disabling the Punjab agriculturists from selling, buying or taking any loan or subsidy on their land” reports Times of India (TOI)

“The Gujarat government said the action was taken under the provisions of the 1972 Kutch Area Tenancy Act and the Gujarat Tenancy Act that prohibited tillers from outside Gujarat to own farm-land in the state” reports NY Daily Times (India).

“Around 30 non-Gujarat agriculturists who have been living in Kutch since 1966 had approached the Gujarat High Court in 2008. Much to their joy, the court, in a landmark judgement in June last, ruled that a farmer from anywhere in India could purchase agricultural land in Gujarat” report adds.

The court has reported quashed a 1972 state government circular that barred farmers from outside Gujarat to own land in the state as an agriculturist.

But the Sikh farmers are still worried and decided to take their case to Punjab and Haryana ministers, Shiromani Akali Dal leaders and other powerful authorities in their home states as the Gujarat government has now challenged the high court order in the Supreme Court.

“After working hard for so many years, we turned the barren land of Kutch into an oasis and now the Gujarat government wants us to go,” Surender Singh, 61, is reported to have told Media on September 04, 2012 at Chandigarh.

“We are being treated by the Gujarat government as if we don’t belong there. It’s almost the same way as Biharis are being treated in Maharashtra,” he reprtedly added. According to reports Surender Singh originally belongs to Fazilka district of Punjab and is now a cotton farmer in Kutch.

It is notable that

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