The administration on Friday sprung into action and resolved the conflict in Burj Dhilwan village, here, after reports surfaced that Dalit families were ostracised by the upper caste landlords, allegedly at the behest of Akali leader Gurmeet Singh Nikka, who is the circle head of the Youth Akali Dal.
Sukhdev Singh (50) has been staying in Burj Dhilwan village along with his family and three brothers for the last 40 years. A baptised Sikh, Sukhdev faced opposition from the landlords of his village, after he opposed removing the pavement over a drain passing in front of his gates. “I covered the drain due to the foul smell emanating out of it. Nikka gathered around 200 people from the village and threatened us after throwing some of our household items in the adjoining cremation ground,” said Sukhdev.
It is learnt that, on Monday, Nikka allegedly gathered around 200 people in the village gurdwara and announced that villagers should boycott Sukhdev Singh and his family. The boycott was also extended to the families of three brothers of Sukhdev Singh, who stay in the same village.
Sukhdev submitted complaint to the police, but till Thursday no one from the district police even approached them for resolving the issue. “We were not even allowed to purchase grocery from the village shops. It is shocking that even the ordinary villagers supported the boycott call,” said Sukhdev Singh.
The district administration on Friday sent Mansa SDM Rakesh Kumar, DSP Rupinder Bharadwaj and Sadar police station SHO Harpal Singh to settle the issue amicably. “We discussed the issue with the families, panchayat and Gurmeet Singh. We invited all the parties concerned and everything was resolved amicably as the families were satisfied with our action,” said the SDM.
Sources said Nikka apologised during the meeting. However, Nikka denied that he was even present when somebody had made that announcement from the gurdwara village. “I don’t even know who made the announcements in my name. That family has never obeyed the orders of gram panchayat due to which the villagers were very angry,” said the SAD leader.
When HT spoke to the villagers, most of them backed Nikka and none showed any remorse over the boycott. Though normalcy has been restored, the family of Sukhdev Singh is in shock. “I have heard about the Dadri lynching. The way these upper caste landlords gathered at our doorstep on Monday, I could only relate it to those incidents,” said Karamjeet Kaur, wife of Sukhdev Singh.