Published On: Wed, Jan 28th, 2015

Sikh farmers from Kutch approach NCM following attack

CHANDIGARH (Jan 28th) SNS :- Punjabi families settled in the Kutch region of Gujarat approached the National Commission for Minorities on Tuesday seeking protection after an alleged attack on a farmer at Loria village, 15km from Bhuj. A team from the commission is likely to meet them on February 1.

Surinder Singh Bhullar, a farmer settled near Bhuj, said that Sikh families have been living in fear after the recent attack on one of the farmers with sharp-edged weapons during demarcation of land at Loria village by a government agency.

“The matter of land acquisition is pending before the apex court and we are even unable to get farmer credit cards to take up farming. To add to it, there is threat to security that is making the Punjabi community here feel vulnerable,” he added.

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Himmat Singh Shergill, who has been taking up the issue of these farmers, said the incident follows a similar attack last year and apart from the indifference of the state government, land mafia appears to be putting pressure on the farmers to give away their land without resistance.

The latest incident has invoked reactions from political parties in Punjab. Punjab Congress president Partap Singh Bajwa said these farmers had been invited to settle there way back in 1965 and they turned the barren lands into cultivable land through sheer hard labour. However, now for the past several years, they were facing the threat of being uprooted under a law enacted by the Gujarat government that purportedly bars non-Gujaratis from buying land in the state. Though, the farmers won the case in the Gujarat high court, the Gujarat government challenged the HC orders in the SC.

Former Congress CM Rajinder Kaur Bhattal alleged that Sikh farmers settled in Bhuj had been living under constant fear from land mafia, which seems to have patronage of the ruling BJP in Gujarat. “These farmers have made repeated requests to the state government and Modi government at the Centre to ensure security for them, but it has fallen on deaf ears,” she said.