Sikh farmers back Modi govt, denies discrimination

Sikh farmers back Modi govt, denies discrimination

A group of Sikh farmers from Kutch district in Gujarat, whose rights over farmland have been cancelled, has come out in support of the state government seeking to counter the Opposition’s allegations that the minority community has been displaced from the border district.

The group led by Nara village sarpanch Jugraj Singh claimed at a press conference that none of Sikh farmers had fled the village, though the district administration had frozen the land records in 2010. They targeted the Congress, saying that the freezing of the land was done due to a notification issued by the party-led government in 1973.

Land was given to 550 residents of Punjab and Haryana in Kutch between 1964 and 1984 as part of a post-war settlement programme. People from other states were not allowed to buy agricultural land in Gujarat and the district administration in 2010 froze the ownership rights of 784 people owning land there.

While blaming the district collector for their ordeal, since he froze the land records on technical grounds, Jugraj Singh said they have met Chief Minister Narendra Modi who “assured” them that the anomaly will be rectified soon.

According to the village head, land records of 784 farmers were frozen with only 153 of them from Punjab. There are around 50,000 Sikhs living in Kutch, he said.

Singh went on to say that the perception about the displacement of Sikh farmers was wrong. “Some people use a wrong platform to file an affidavit in the Supreme Court for political gain (Congress). That is not the truth,” he said.

“We live peacefully. We are participating in the development of Gujarat,” he said at the press conference where Gujarat government officials and a BJP youth leader