Sikh farmer's delegation refutes reports of alleged unfair treatment by Gujarat Govt

New Delhi, Sept 23 : A delegation of Sikh farmers, settled in Gujarat's Kutchh District, have condemned reports of alleged unfair and unjust treatment of their community at the hands of the Gujarat Government.

They termed it as totally malicious, highly distorted and unfounded, having a deliberate intention of spreading feelings of animosity.

The delegation, led by Jugraj Singh, is visiting the national capital, and said there is absolutely no question of Sikh farmers leaving Kutch for Punjab as the Gujarat Government has never put any kind of pressure on the community.

Singh said in a statement that the 1973 notification relating to purchase of agricultural land is part of the rules framed during the British era and clearly stated that purchase or acquiring by any other means of any agricultural land by the non-farmers of Gujarat or persons from other states shall be deemed illegal.

He asserted that it is absolutely clear that land records of all the 784 farmers, including those of Gujarat, which did not conform to the provisions of the 1973 notification, have been frozen and not just those of Sikh farmers, as was earlier alleged.

He added that any statement relating to forcefully acquiring land holdings of Sikhs or Sikh farmers was only a malafide attempt to mislead the community.

Of the 784 farmers, whose land records have been frozen, 153 belong to Punjab, 88 belong to Gujarat and 543 belong to other states such as Rajasthan and Haryana etc.

The judgment of the Gujarat High Court on a petition filed by some of the Sikh farmers from Kutch is under consideration in the Supreme Court. However, the Sikh community continues to farm the government-allotted lands without any hindrance.

Singh further stated that nearly 550 residents of Punjab-Haryana were allotted government land as part of the post-war resettlement programme during 1964-1984. The rights related to the government land allotted to Sikh farmers, as part of the programme, had not been abrogated and the community continues with their agricultural practices in the Kutch District.

The delegation observed that reports and statements of injustice to the Sikh community of Kutchh or that of acquisition of their land holdings were aimed at provoking the Sikh community in an attempt to defame the Gujarat Government, and added that the Sikh community is in no way associated with such disinformation campaigns.

About 50 farmers attended the media conference here.

--ANI (Posted on 23-09-2013)

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