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HindustanTimes Fri,19 Sep 2014

Bhuj farmers see BJP MLA behind attack

Gurpreet Singh Nibber , Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, October 09, 2013
First Published: 23:01 IST(9/10/2013) | Last Updated: 23:22 IST(9/10/2013)

Four Sikh farmers injured by 30 armed men on Tuesday at Loria village near Bhuj city in Gujarat's Kutch district have named Anjar's BJP legislator Vasanbhai Ahir as perpetrator.

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In a formal complaint to Bhuj police, they have named the member of Gujarat legislative assembly (MLA) and his supporters, and are disappointed at no action, so far. Sensing trouble, their families had met police and the district administration five days ago, yet the law machinery couldn't prevent the attack.

The issue, in the allegation of Amandeep Singh (37) of Faridkot district originally, is about 500 acres at Loria, 20 kilometres from Bhuj, which he says was usurped and registered wrongfully in the names of other villagers.

"On October 3, a group from Loria questioned our ownership of the land. We showed them the papers, and after satisfying them, started sowing rindi (oil seeds)," said Amandeep over telephone, adding: "We saw them passing by our farm on subsequent days, and on Tuesday they came in a group to attack us, and threatened to kill us after firing several gunshots."

Along with Amandeep, his relatives Jaswinder Singh (42), Angrez Singh (21), and Harpeet Singh (25) were also injured in the attack. An axe blow broke Jaswinder's thigh bone. All four are admitted to the Bhuj Civil Hospital. The attackers also demolished a room on the farmland. All attempts to contact the Anjar legislator were futile.

On October 4, Sikh farmers from Loria had approached Bhuj collector Harshad Patel and the deputy superintendent of police. "We got assurances but no help," said Amandeep. His grandfather, Ganga Singh, and other 22 relatives were allotted the 500 acres in 1964.

"Our families worked hard to make the land fertile. When it has become profitable, politicians and other influential people want to usurp it," said Surinder Singh Bhullar, one of the farmers who took the Sikh farmers' battle to the Supreme Court.

Nearly 1,000 Sikh families moved the Supreme Court after the Gujarat government froze their land rights in 2010, based on the plea that they were not farmers. The Sikhs settled in Bhuj post the 1965 conflict with Pakistan won the case in the Gujarat high court, after which the Gujarat government filed a special leave petition (SLP) in the apex court, challenging high court orders.

Cong leader flays assault

Senior Congress leader Fateh Jung Singh Bajwa has condemned the assault on Punjabi-origin farmers in Gujarat's Loria village. Speaking here on Wednesday, he asked Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi to arrest the assailants, and blamed the attack on Modi's "anti-Sikh policy".

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