Rural development and panchayat minister Sikander Singh Maluka, had to leave his sangat darshan programme, being held in a town near Bhai Rupa village, midway in a hurry on Saturday after he was informed that residents of the village were marching towards the venue of the programme.
Though, the administration had taken measures to stop the residents from marching towards the venue of the event, but Maluka did not take a chance and left the function in a hurry.
The programme is being seen as an attempt by the minister to woo voters for the ensuing polls for the Bhai Rupa Nagar Panchayat. Elections to the panchayat are going to be held for the first time after its formation recently. The nagar panchayat is part of the Rampura Phul assembly segment represented by Maluka.
Residents of Bhai Rupa had planned to march towards the town under the banner of the Dhan Dhan Baba Bhai Roop Chandji Langar Sewa Society to protest against the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), which has taken possession of the 161 acres of the 'disputed' land, which the society claims belonged to it.
The police, having got the information that villagers had planned to protest against the visit of Maluka, initially confined the protesters inside the langar hall of the gurdwara in the village where they had gathered.
However, later the villagers marched towards the town holding black flags in their hands but were stopped by the police from entering the town. It was only after Maluka left the town that the villagers were allowed to take out a procession.
Member of the Langar Sewa Society Nand Singh said that villagers had decided to protest against the minister as Maluka had stood by the SGPC and supported its possession over the land.
The SGPC and the Langar Sewa Society are locked in a dispute over the ownership of 161 acres of land in the village. The SGPC claims that the land belongs to it as per the court orders, but the society say that the persons against whom the SGPC claims to have won the case are not the actual owners of the land and the society was the real owner of the land.
The SGPC took he possession of the land in June last year amid the presence of armed men and the police. The society has approached a local court in this connection and the matter is sub judice.