New Delhi, Sep 23 IANS | 2 years ago

A delegation of Sikh farmers from the Kutch region of Gujarat Monday described as "totally malicious" reports that they were being forced to leave their land holdings.

The delegation of about 50 farmers, led by Jugraj Singh, told media persons here that reports of alleged unfair and unjust treatment meted out to the Sikh community by the Gujarat government were highly distorted and unfounded.

Jugraj Singh said the reports pertained to a 1973 notification that drew on rules laid down by the British colonial government, which stated that purchase or acquisition of agricultural land by non-farmers of Gujarat or persons from other states shall be deemed illegal.

Of the 784 farmers whose land records were frozen as part of the notification, 153 belonged to Punjab, 88 to Gujarat and 543 to other states such as Rajasthan and Haryana, Jugraj Singh said, explaining that it was not as if the Sikh community was being especially targeted.

The farmers whose land records have been frozen approached the Gujarat High Court, which ruled against the action. However, the state has decided to challenge the ruling in the Supreme Court.

There is absolutely no question of return of Sikh farmers from Kutch to Punjab, as the Gujarat government has not put any kind of pressure on the community, Jugraj Singh said.

After the 1965 India-Pakistan war, many farmers from Rajasthan and Punjab were settled in Kutch district.

(Posted on 23-09-2013)