'Ensure justice for Punjabi farmers in Kutch, Haryana'
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has sought the intervention of the National Commission of Minorities to halt the uprooting of Punjabi (Sikh) farmers from Gujarat and Haryana.punjab Updated: Aug 23, 2013 22:41 IST
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has sought the intervention of the National Commission of Minorities to halt the uprooting of Punjabi (Sikh) farmers from Gujarat and Haryana.
This plea was submitted in writing to the commission chairman, Wajahat Habibullah, by SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar here on Friday. Habibullah was here to pay obeisance at the Golden Temple and was also honoured by the SGPC at its information centre.
In the memorandum, the SGPC pointed to the plight of Punjabi farmers of the Kutch region of Gujarat, who were being uprooted from their land. The farmers are fighting a legal battle against the Gujarat government despite having won their case in the Gujarat high court.
The memorandum pointed out that these farmers had been tilling the land since 1965 and not all of a sudden they were facing a threat to their livelihood. The SGPC pleaded that the commission should intervene to halt this eviction.
The memorandum also pointed to the case of Punjabi farmers of Haryana who were being evicted from their agricultural holdings near Pehowa. The SGPC sought the commission's help to take up this issue with the Haryana government.
'Discrimination' with Punjabi language
In the memorandum, the SGPC pointed to the recent decision of the Delhi University to discontinue Punjabi language in its courses. The SGPC termed this as a discriminatory order against the minority Sikh community.
"This is grave injustice as it will deprive our future generations from knowing and studying their own language, in which they converse at home," the memorandum stated while urging the commission to get this decision revoked.
Demands release of Bhullar
The SGPC also sought the release of Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF) terrorist Davinderpal Singh Bhullar, who is on death row in Tihar Jail for a 1993 bomb blast case outside the headquarters of the All India Youth Congress, which killed several people.
"We appeal for his release, as Bhullar is both mentally and physically ill and this has been certified by doctors. It will be unjust to hang an ill person," the memorandum stated.
'Take up turban, kirpan issues'
Though the Minorities Commission's jurisdiction is limited to the country, the SGPC went ahead to highlight recent cases of Sikhs being asked to remove their turbans at international airports for security checks. The religious body cited the case at the Rome International Airport, where Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) chief Manjit Singh GK was asked to remove his turban.
Likewise the SGPC sought the Commission's intervention to allow Sikhs to wear 9-inch 'kirpans' on international flights as they are allowed to do so on domestic flights.
Habibullah, on his part, assured Makkar that he would consider and take up their demands at the appropriate level. He, however, pointed out that it was the Minorities Commission and its member, Ajaib Singh, who had brought the plight of the Kutch farmers in the media and before the people.
First Published: Aug 23, 2013 22:39 IST