As Valmikis get restive, Punjab police on alert

  • Ravinder Vasudeva, Hindustan Times, Jalandhar
  • Updated: Sep 07, 2014 09:36 IST

Fearing a clash between two communities over the possession of a piece of land at Ram Tirath, 13 km from Amritsar, where Maharshi Valmiki is said to have written the Ramayana, the Punjab Armed Police (PAP) here has been put on high alert.

According to government sources, due to tension escalating over the land dispute, the Punjab government is anticipating a major law and order problem in near future, especially in Amritsar, Jalandhar and Ludhiana districts, dominated by the Valmiki community, who is opposed to giving possession of the land to the petitioner.

The petitioner, Baldev Giri, after fighting a long court battle had won the case in an Ajnala (Amritsar) court in 2004 but the possession of the land is still with the Bhagwan Valmiki Dhuna Sahib Management Trust.

After failing to get possession, Giri had recently moved the Punjab and Haryana high court, which on September 4 directed the Amritsar (rural) SSP to implement the execution warrant of possession on September 8.

Against the implementation of the orders, the Valmiki community throughout the state has started mobilising its cadres and this increasing unrest in the community has forced the government to take preventive measures.

The state government has asked the district administrations of Amritsar, Jalandhar and Ludhiana to be on their toes to monitor the activities of the community leaders.

Besides, the state government is toiling hard to reach an out-of-court settlement by involving all stakeholders. Sources said assembly speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal had called a meeting of the Valmiki community leaders in Chandigarh on Sunday.

Till now, Mahant Giri, along with court officials, has tried no less than 14 times to take possession of the land, but every time because of the tension and the local police taking the plea in the court of a possible law-and-order problem, the possession was delayed each time.

This time around, because of the high court orders, the local administration is left with no option. Meanwhile, the government order has left the police in a piquant situation as the police are short of funds because the state government has not sanctioned money for fuel.

Chief minister Parkash Singh Badal had also laid the foundation stone of a temple of Maharshi Valmiki (not on the disputed land) at Ram Tirath in October last year.

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