Assault on Sikh farmers in Gujarat: Minority panel says matter sorted, farmers not satisfied
The National Commission for Minorities (NCM) claims that the issue of wrongful registration of a criminal cases against a group of Sikh farmers in Gujarat has been sorted out, but the farmers nothing tangible has happened in their favour so far.chandigarh Updated: Feb 02, 2015 08:05 IST
The National Commission for Minorities (NCM) claims that the issue of wrongful registration of a criminal cases against a group of Sikh farmers in Gujarat has been sorted out, but the farmers nothing tangible has happened in their favour so far.
Last week, some farmers were assaulted when workers of a private firm came for measurement of their land, to which the farmers objected in Loria village of Bhuj district in the Kutch region of Gujarat. It is alleged that the farmers’ cars were smashed when they approached the police, and the FIR too was registered against them.
“We have taken up the matter with the Gujarat chief secretary and he has sent the police and the district administration to meet the farmers, besides assuring to withdraw the case and also help them get their land back,” NCM member Ajaib Singh told HT. He added that the commission’s team was to visit Gujarat to take stock of the situation but that was postponed by a week “so that we get a report from the state government before reaching there”.
According to Ajaib Singh, the station house officer (SHO) who booked the farmers has been transferred, and the FIR would also be cancelled “in due course”. Those assaulted the farmers were arrested, he claimed.
But a farmer from Loria said, “It would be too late after a week; nobody will listen to us. The minority panel must visit now.” The land, measurement of which was objected to by the farmers is 300 acres, owned by 22 families.
“Out of these 22 families, 15 have been illegally divested of their rights over the land and seven families who have the rights are also being forced by the encroachers to leave,” said Amandeep Singh, 52, whose family migrated to Loria from Faridkot in 1970 when he was seven years old.
“We have really worked to make this barren land fertile, and now some local people want to throw us out illegally. The government is also not willing to acquire it officially,” added Amandeep.
Former NCM chairman Tarlochan Singh said the matter was not being dealt with “properly”. The commission, he said, had failed to act, and the farmers were also “not approaching the right channel”. He suggested that “such issues are sorted out with much diligence and diplomacy”.
It needs mention that apart from the land in Loria, of the total 5,000 farmers from Punjab and Haryana, there are 742 families whose land rights of 15,000 acres were frozen in 2010. The Gujarat high court gave them relief but the state has moved the Supreme Court against that.
Take firearm licence!
The district collector of Bhuj, Mahinder Patel, has reportedly offered arms licences to the farmers for personal safety after they met on Friday, reportedly on the insistence of CM Anandiben Patel. “We do not want to put ourselves in more trouble by using any arms,” said Amandeep, echoing the farmers’ sentiment.