SHEOPUR The Madhya Pradesh government’s drive against mafia and encroachments has an unusual casualty – the Sikhs in the tribal-dominated Karahal tehsil of Sheopur district, about 400 km north of Bhopal on the Rajasthan-MP border, who have been declared as illegal occupants of land in the notified scheduled tribe block.
About a fortnight ago, farm houses of 11 Sikhs were demolished and standing crop levelled on the ground that they bought tribal land on the basis of forged papers and have encroached on forest and other government land, too. The Sikhs denied the charge even as the Akal Takht termed the government action as harassment of the community within the country.
About 100 Sikhs families came here in the past more than two decades and are in possession of hundreds of acres of agriculture land.
Among them, is Kehar Singh, 73, who came to Saharia tribals dominated Karahal in Sheopur district, from Sirsa in Haryana, more than 600 km away, in 1996. He built a farm house over a piece of land measuring more than 25,000 sq feet in course of time in the midst of about 50 acre agriculture land near Gothra village.
Kehar Singh and the other 10 families had their world turned upside down when a team of district administration assisted with a heavy police force bulldozed their farm houses and levelled their agriculture field with tractors in the last week of December last year. The families estimate the loss to be several crores of rupees.
Kehar Singh’s son, Gurmeet Singh, alleged, “The SDM and tehsildar dubbed us as rioters and militants (ugrawadi) and said to us ‘Tum logon ko 84 me bhaga diya tha, tum log fir wapas aa gaye?’”
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