Bajwa: Explain displacement of Kutch Sikhs

Ropar, Punjab: Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) president Partap Singh Bajwa today sought an explanation from Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on the displacement of Sikhs from Kutch in Gujarat, a state ruled by the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal’s alliance partner the BJP.

Bajwa, who was addressing a meeting of party workers as part of the Congress’ mass contact programme here, cited a report that appeared in a section of the media today. He said the incident highlighted the “anti-minority” mindset of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, “whom Badal had accorded a grand reception in Pathankot recently”.

The report, prepared by the National Commission for Minorities, stated that the Gujarat Government had “prima facie” discriminated against the state’s Sikh community in Kutch by ordering them to sell their land and return to Punjab as they were not Gujaratis. It stated that Modi cited the Bombay Tenancy and Agricultural Lands Act, 1948. The commission, however, strongly disapproved of the Gujarat Government’s interpretation that only Gujarati farmers could own or buy land in the state under the Act.

Bajwa said the Sikhs from Punjab had migrated to Kutch on being invited by former Prime Minister the late Lal Bahadur Shastri. He said the Sikh farmers had worked hard to make the land fit for cultivation and contributed their bit in the Green Revolution.

Criticising the Punjab Chief Minister, he alleged Badal preferred silence over the issue despite a deputation of Sikhs from Gujarat having called upon him in the past.

Describing the political alliance between the SAD and the BJP as an “understanding of opportunism driven by the business interests of the Badal family”, Bajwa said the Akali Dal was not a true representative of the Sikhs.

Source: The Tribune

3 comments

  1. My family used to live in the area of Ahmedabad which was prone to hindu-muslim riots. I was still kid when riots used to break out quite regularly. Riots used to scare the hell out of many in the society. But then we were fortunate to have few Sikh families who will visit every single home in the society at the time of riots and assure them that they will make sure no one gets hurt. Fortunately now the days of riots are over.

    Yet, to this day, when I see a Sikh I feel he is someone who is brave, selfless and ready to protect you when you are in need. It is a childhood impression that remained in my memories and will always stay.

    I hope Gujarat government treats these Sikh immigrants to the fairest possible manner and make sure they don’t have to suffer any injustice. I have lot of faith in Modi and believe he will do the right thing.

  2. Is Gujarat, is not in India ! If , everyone has the right to purchase agriculture land there.

  3. I am a farmer in Kutch. I have tried to buy farm land in Rajasthan, but refused as I am not born there. The law seriously need to change. With regards to the Sikh farmers, they have been Kutch for many years now, and should be allowed to stay. Due to the special status given to Kutch for historical reason, even gujaratis from other districts have difficulty buying farming land in kutch. There is more to this, some very rich farmers from other states including rajastan have somehow brought huge amount of land in Kutch from poor farmers. Their cases are in the supreme court as well after winning in the high court. they should not be allowed to buy out poor farmers. Every one in kutch I know want the Sikhs to stay, but not the rich outside farmers who are using their money power. The question is how to use the law to discriminate between the 2 cases. Kutch being a border district, it is very common site to see Sikh soldiers and they are very well admired and respected here. Kutch population is divided roughly into 25% durbars / other communities, 25% Patels, 25% harijans and 25% muslims. With the latter 2 groups being very poor and for some of them land being the only posession they have. I hope that modi will pass a special law to allow the sikh farmers to stay. Just curious are non punjabis allowed to buy land in Punjab?

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