8-member govt team says Sikhs being targeted in MP
Says govt officials having allegiance with BJP razed houses and damaged crops of community members deliberatelyUpdated: Jan 21, 2020 23:07 IST
A fact-finding team sent by Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh to Madhya Pradesh to meet the affected Sikh families whose houses were razed during an anti-encroachment drive in Sheopur district’s Karahal tehsil, accused the government officials “having allegiance with the BJP” of persecuting the community members deliberately.
Houses of 11 Sikh families were razed and crops around the dwellings levelled with tractors in the last week of December as a part of the state government’s anti-land mafia drive.
Punjab revenue minister Gurpreet Singh Kangar, who is heading the eight-member team, said: “After meeting the affected families, it’s clear that the Sikhs were singled out to persecute them despite the fact they all have legal documents regarding ownership of the land they are occupying. The officials responsible for such a cruelty are working for the BJP.”
Replying to a question, Kangar said the Kamal Nath government was not to blame for the action. The officials did this to defame the government in the eyes of Sikhs.
“I will submit my report to chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh who will then decide the next course of action,” said Kangar.
During the visit, the team interacted with district collector Pratibha Pal and superintendent of police Nagendra Singh and asked them why the houses were razed without following the principles of natural justice and why only Sikhs were singled out.
‘FREE LAND FROM ENCROACHMENTS’
The land of poor tribals should be freed from the clutches people from Punjab and Haryana, said BJP leader and local MLA Seetaram Adivasi while welcoming the fact-finding team.
“Saharia tribals’ thousands of acres of land was illegally occupied by people from Punjab and Haryana. I appreciate the action taken by Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath who has launched the drive to get freed land encroached upon illegally,” he said.
SAD, SGPC TEAM MEETS AFFECTED FAMILIES
Another team of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) also visited the area and met the affected Sikh families on Tuesday.
Talking to media, SAD leader Prem Singh Chandumajra said: “This was all done at the instructions of the Kamal Nath government as he is anti-Sikh. If action was not taken against guilty officials and compensation not given to the affected families, the SAD will launch an agitation.”
Sheopur collector Pratibha Pal said: “The teams assessed the situation at their own level. We apprised them of the facts based on which action was taken.”
“The Sikhs were victimised at the instance of the Kamal Nath government. The BJP has already been raising the issue since the state government launched the drive that the land mafia was being shielded and innocents are being victimised. There are also reports of extortion by government officials in the name of anti-mafia drive,” said Madhya Pradesh BJP spokesperson Rajneesh Agrawal.
State Congress media coordinator Narendra Saluja said: “The state government has already taken action against certain government officials. The opposition leaders are politicising the issue as people have rejected them and they are frustrated with Kamal Nath government having completed more than a year in office. The CM has assured all Sikh families that no injustice would be done to them.”