In an alleged attempt to mislead inquiry officers checking the authenticity of 1984 riot victims who have been allotted flats constructed by the state government in Dugri, Danga Peedit Welfare Society president Surjit Singh, who is said to be the owner of some flats, allegedly tried to get three houses forcibly vacated on Thursday morning.
As per government records, the flats in Dugri are allotted to riot victims, who hold red cards. But it is alleged that Surjt Singh got hold of the flats by making people pose as applicants and has now given them out on rent.
On getting information that inquiry officers would reach the houses soon, Surjit Singh, it is alleged, approached the tenants -Surinder Kaur, Gurcharan Singh and Naresh Kumar - on Wednesday evening and told them to vacate the houses before dawn. The tenants, however, resisted and threatened Surjit Singh of "exposing" him.
On Thursday, Surjit Singh, along with his "associates", again went to the houses and tried to evict the tenants. The situation got worse when the tenants also called their supporters. The police had to intervene to cool down tempers.
Surinder Kaur, the tenant living in house number 2968 (ground floor), complained: "I am living in the flat since 2011 and pay Rs. 4000 as the monthly rent. Now, without giving any prior warning, Surjit barged into our house yesterday evening and asked us to vacate it by morning.
When I refused, he threatened me with dire consequences and sent his goons to throw our belongings on the road. I have proof to testify that I am residing in this house for last 18 months and the administration should take action against Surjit Singh."
Gurcharan Singh and Naresh Kumar of house numbers 2968 A and 2967 A, also toed Surinder Kaur's line. "We will not sit quite and will give the administration the required proof to show that Surjit Singh owns the flats," the duo added.
Contacted, Surjit Singh denied the allegations: "The tenants were given two rooms each by the riot victims who own the houses. I have never seen these complainants and intervened only to safeguard the interests of the danga peedits."
A civil writ petition was filed in Punjab and Haryana High Court in 2010 and, as per the directions of the court, the district administration prepared a list of 7,000 riot victims.
Thereafter, another civil writ petition was filed in 2011 and the high court ordered Ludhiana deputy commissioner Rahul Tewari to prepare the final list and allot the flats to the genuine victims by November end.
The district administration, having invited applications of the red card-holders (danga peedits), received 2,000 applications, taking the number of applicants to 9,000.
1,000 inquiry officers from various government departments conducted inquiries to check the authenticity of the claimants wherein 4,500 applications were "authentic", 3,000 were "false", while remaining 1500 were found incomplete.
Deputy commissioner Rahul Tewari said: "We had given a chance to the 3,000 applicants, termed false in respective inquiries and 300 claimed to be authentic. Thus, the administration is once again doing an extensive check in these 300 cases in addition to the 1500 incomplete inquiries. Once the inquiry is complete, we will hand over the final list to Greater Ludhiana Area Development Authority (GLADA) on November 28 and they will allot 1,000 flats through a draw," DC went on to add.