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Tewari asks SAD to clarify stand on Punjabi farmers in Gujarat

PTI  Ludhiana, August 18, 2013
First Published: 21:33 IST(18/8/2013) | Last Updated: 21:35 IST(18/8/2013)

Information and broadcasting minister Manish Tewari on Saturday asked the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) in Punjab to clarify its stand on Punjabi farmers in Gujarat who were being "threatened with Godhra-like consequences" if they refused to leave.

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In a statement here, Tewari said, the issue was yet to be settled as the Gujarat government was vigorously pursuing its case against Punjabi farmers in the Supreme Court.

The union minister pointed out, since there is a BJP government in Gujarat and Akali Dal is in alliance with the them in Punjab, SAD should spell their stand on the issue and explain what it has done to safeguard farmers' interest.

Tewari, who represents the Ludhiana parliamentary constituency, asserted, "I want to ask the SAD, which cries hoarse about guarding the interests of Punjabis and has always been accusing Congress of being anti-Punjab, as why they are maintaining a conniving and criminal silence on the issue".

The minister said, he had learnt that the "farmers were being warned and threatened that if they did not leave Gujarat, they might meet the same fate as in Godhra in 2002."  Tewari pointed out, this is despite the fact that the Gujarat high court had ruled in their (farmers') favour.

Recently, Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal had said his Gujarat counterpart Narendra Modi had assured that there was no question of farmers being forced to return to Punjab.

Several farmers from Punjab and Haryana who shifted to Gujarat had feared that they would displaced from the state.

An order was issued by the local Collector in 2010 for freezing farm land of several farmers from Punjab and Haryana.

The affected farmers moved the High Court and got relief from the Court in 2012, but the Gujarat government moved the apex court challenging the relief.

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