August 4, 2013 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Amritsar/ Bathinda, Punjab (August 04, 2013): Sikh farmers settled in Kutch area of Indian state Gujrat are facing threat of displacement, as Narindra Modi government is heading with it’s plans to oust these “non-Gujrati” farmers from their lands. Previously, Sikh farmers, who had settled in Escorts Farm of Uttrakhand were forcibly displaced in 2006 by Uttrakhand government.
Fearing similar fate over 2,000 Sikh farmers settled in Kutch area are reportedly mobilizing political support from outside the state to build pressure on the Narendra Modi government and to ensure that they are not evicted from the land they have been cultivating for several decades. Sikh farmers have reportedly approached Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar.
As per information the Sikh farmers, who first landed in this bordering district after 1965 India-Pak war, are now settled across Bhuj, Lakhpat, Abdasa, Mandvi and Anjar talukas, owning thousands of acres of agricultural land.
According to a news reported by the Indian Express (IE): “[i]t is believed that they have converted large tracts of land in this arid zone into fertile agricultural tracts. They faced no problem till two years ago when the state government ordered “freezing” of their land under provisions of the Bombay Tenancy and Agricultural Lands Act, 1958, disabling them from selling, buying or taking any loan or subsidy on their land”.
“Subsequently, these farmers were not issued certified copies of their land records or what’s known in local revenue parlance, “7/12 utara”, a proof of their ownership of the land. It is on the basis of this document that farmers can sell or transfer their land or take loans and subsidy. The farmers fear that with this order, they may be denied water to their agricultural land by the local irrigation cooperative societies formed by the state government and thus, forcing them to vacate the land on their own”, the Indian Express news report reads further.
It is notable here that Sikh farmers of Kutch area had challenged the evacuation order of Narindra Modi’s Government in the Gujarat High Court and the High Court had decided in the favour of Sikh farmers five months ago. But then the state government moved the Supreme Court.
According to Indian Express: “Dharam Singh, a Sikh farmer from Lakhpat taluka, said that he and several others recently met Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee president Avtar Singh Makkar in this regard”.
Keeping in view the ‘close relationship’ of SAD (Badal) and the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP), there are little chances that Parkash Singh Badal would offer any help to the affected Sikh farmers. Though Narindra Modi is infamous for being ‘anti-minority’, however Parkash Singh Badal do not see the issue of suspected displacement of Sikh farmers from the angle of discrimination.
It may be recalled that Narindra Modi is prime-ministerial candidate of BJP led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) – to which SAD (Badal) is also an ally.
As per certain media reports Parkash Singh Badal, who was at Bathinda on August 03, told media reporters there that the case of Sikh farmers is in Supreme Court. He said that “it is not the issue of Punjabi farmers alone; there are farmers from Haryana also. We have sympathy with all”.
So far as Shiromani Gurdwara Prabhandhak Committee (SGPC) is concerned, it is under complete control of Badal regime, therefore there are little chances SGPC President Avtar Singh Makkar would be able to extend any help to the affect Sikh families.
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