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Punjab’s fact-finding team in MP to meet affected Sikh families

The affected families have alleged that they lost properties worth crores of rupees in the anti-encroachment drive, despite having legal documents regarding ownership of the land.
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By Ranjan, Bhopal
PUBLISHED ON JAN 20, 2020 11:24 PM IST

An eight-member fact-finding team led by Punjab minister for revenue, rehabilitation and disaster management, Gurpreet Singh Kangar, will visit Karahal area of Sheopur district in Madhya Pradesh on Tuesday morning to meet the affected Sikh families there.

When contacted over phone, Kangar said, “We have reached Gwalior and will visit Sheopur on Tuesday morning.”

He said, “We will meet the affected families and the administrative officials and try to know what had actually happened. I will submit my report to the chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh, who will then further take up the matter with the MP CM.”

The development comes after announcement by chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh 10 days ago in this regard. The team will visit Sikhs whose houses were demolished and crops around their houses levelled during an anti-encroachment drive in the last week of December last year by the local administration.

The affected families have alleged that they lost properties worth crores of rupees in the anti-encroachment drive, despite having legal documents regarding ownership of the land.

The district administration has claimed that these families do not possess legal documents required for ownership of land in a notified scheduled tribe area.

The drive was reportedly launched on the instruction of the state government to take action against land mafia across the state.

A government official said the delegation includes two Congress MLAs—Harminder Singh Gill and Kuldeep Singh Vaid— IAS officer and Patiala division commissioner Dipinder Singh; additional secretary revenue Capt Karnail Singh; revenue consultant Narinder Singh Sangha; chairman Punjab Energy Development Agency (PEDA) Harvendra Singh Hanspal and officer on special duty (OSD) to revenue minister Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal.

The Punjab government’s team visit to Sheopur comes in the backdrop of the visit of a delegation of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), a delegation of Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC), a team of Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) and a few other delegations in the past over a fortnight, said Kulwant Singh, Karahal gurdwara committee member.

However, MP chief minister Kamal Nath’s media coordinator Narendra Saluja claimed that the team was visiting on the invitation of Kamal Nath.

He said, “During the talk with Punjab CM, chef minister Kamal Nath had requested him that he could send a delegation to Sheopur to see the situation.”

A sikh community member Gurvel Singh said, “The affected Sikh families are yet to get compensation and the authorities responsible for the illegal action and persecution of the Sikh families were merely removed, not suspended.”

Saluja said, “The CM has already instructed the authorities that injustice with the Sikhs in Sheopur will not be tolerated. The four government personnel, including the SDM and tehsildar, who were responsible for the act in Karahal were removed after I visited the area and submitted a report to the CM.”

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