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HindustanTimes Sat,20 Sep 2014

Bathinda village tense after clash with SGPC workers over land

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Bathinda, May 10, 2014
First Published: 13:18 IST(10/5/2014) | Last Updated: 13:20 IST(10/5/2014)

Tension prevailed in Bhai Rupa village as residents took out a protest march on Friday two days after the clash between officials of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) and villagers under the banner of the Dhan Dhan Baba Bhai Roop Chand Ji Langar Seva Society.


The villagers marched in streets against the alleged attempts by the SGPC to usurp the 161 acres of land and the police for registering of a case against the villagers.

The agitators demanded cancellation of the FIR against 16 residents and the registration of a case against the SGPC team members for showing disrespect to a religious place by entering the gurdwara with shoes on, arms in their hands and resorting to stone-pelting from the sacred place.

All the 16 villagers have been booked on the attempt to murder charges. No one has yet been arrested.

A member of the society Nand Singh alleged that though the SGPC team members had attacked the villagers and brandished weapons inside the gurdwara, yet the police did not take any action against.

SHO, Phul, Gursher Singh, said that no complaint has been lodged by the society members so no case has been registered against the SGPC team members. A case against villagers has been registered on the complaint of the committee team members, who had suffered grievous injuries in the clash.

LONG DRAWN BATTLE
The issue has witnessed a long legal battle between the two groups over the years. According to SDM, Phul, Sakatar Singh, on a petition by the SGPC, the Sikh Gurdwara Tribunal had, in 1972, ruled that the gurdwara as well as land in question belonged to the SGPC and not to managers of the gurdwara. Bhai Arjun Singh and his heirs are the managers.

“Managers of the gurdwara had approached the high court against the ruling but, in 1993, the high court had upheld the tribunal’s judgment. Against the high court’s judgment, heirs of Bhai Arjun Singh approached the SC and the apex court also upheld the tribunal’s decision in 1999,” he said.

But after the apex court orders, the SGPC didn't take the actual possession of the land. However, it took the possession in in 2013 and gave the land on lease for cultivation.

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