Gujarat Sikh farmers air their woes in Delhi

A delegation of Sikh farmers from Gujarat met Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, senior vice-president and spokesman of Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) on Friday and apprised him of the condition of farmers there.

The delegation brought to Ramoowalia’s notice the Gujarat government’s decision to freeze ownership of the land that they have been cultivating in the state for decades.  

Sikhs originally from Punjab and Haryana went to Gujarat in 1965-66 when Lal Bahadur Shastri, the then Prime Minister had given priority to farmers from Punjab to settle in the border areas for security purpose.

“These families have permanent ownership over the land with valid proof, like credit card, subsidy record, ration card and electric bills,” he told reporters.

“However, now the Gujarat government is bent upon snatching their lands under the provisions of an old and abandoned Bombay Act, 1958, saying they are from other states,” Ramoowalia said.  

Surinder Singh Bhullar, a member of the delegation, said in the last two years the Bhuj district collector had frozen the lands of more than 1,000 Sikh and Haryanvi farmer families and had taken all records into his custody.

“The land of Punjabis and Haryanvis is being purchased by land-mafia and political persons at throwaway prices,” said Bhullar.

Ramoowalia assured the delegation that SAD will not allow anybody to take away even an inch of their land.

He will ask Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and BJP president Nitin Gadkari to take up the matter with the Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi.

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