Shiromani Gurdwara Parbhandhak Committee (SGPC) amid tight police security on Monday took possession of the controversial 161 acres of land in Bhai Rupa village located in Rampura Phull constituency. Task force of SGPC came along with police of Bathinda and Faridkot and they ploughed the already vacant land with tractors in the presence of police and later announced that it had been given on lease for the coming paddy season. The task force, which came in about 60-70 four wheelers, was accompanied by Kewal Singh, vice-president of SGPC, along with members of SGPC – Mohan Singh, Sukhdev Singh Bahia and many others.
While SGPC members claimed that the land in question was always there and Bhai Rupa langar committee was raising objections for no reasons. The langar committee president Rajwinder Singh however stated that they will chalk out next course of action soon. Today the committee members were not allowed to interfere in the possession work and it was alleged that police never allowed the langar committee members and the other villagers to come out of the village and even media was restrained from doing coverage of the incident.
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It needs to be mentioned that Bhai Rupa Langar committee had gone in Rampura Phull court regarding the controversy of the land in question and the next court hearing was on July 10, but possession was taken a month before the court hearing. SGPC members however maintained that when already the land was in names of SGPC in revenue records, they had all the reason to take possession of the same. The members added that even last year as well, SGPC committee had given that land on lease to few families for farming and even this year as well they have done the same.
However on May 21, there was a clash between SGPC members and Bhai Rupa langar committee members when the later were trying to get the land auctioned and few had also been injured in this incident. After few days, 5 persons of Langar committee had also been arrested by police who are still behing bars. The langar committee members had staged a dharna outside SDM Rampura two daya back that they had bail orders of arrested members, but despite that they were not being released.
Earlier Education Minister Sikander Singh Maluka and area MLA had also supported SGPC and had snubbed police for delay in action. The villagers however had disliked this action of Maluka and they had been extended support by Faridkot MP Sadhu Singh as the area falls in Faridkot parliamentary constituency. Information revealed that the persons who had taken land on lease are likely to start paddy transplantation soon while Bhai Rupa Langar committee members stated that they will not let this happen.
BATHINDA: Clash over 161 acres of land at Bhairupa village in Bathinda district between Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) and local “langar” committee is taking a serious turn. Peace of the village was badly disturbed after an SGPC team had reached Bhairupa on May 7 to take possession of the land, which led to a clash.
Three SGPC staffers were injured and police had registered a case against 30 villagers on attempt to murder charges. The village residents took out a protest march and demanded withdrawal of the case registered against their fellows. They also accused SGPC and district administration of violating agreement of not taking any action in the matter till May 16 due to enforcement of model code of conduct.
Angered over registration of the case, several villagers met Bathinda senior superintendent of police (SSP) on Saturday and threatened to forcibly take back possession of land if administration failed to come to their rescue. When contacted, denying any political interference in matter, Bathinda SSP Gurpreet Singh Bhullar said, “Police are looking into the matter as per the law.”
Bhai Roop Chand Langar Committee member Baldev Singh Bhairupa said, “The land belongs to our forefathers, and is in our possession for the last more than 200 years. SGPC has nothing to do with it. It has not even spent a penny on the land but only wanted to usurp it under political patronage.” Baldev alleged that SGPC wanted to lease out the land to persons from outside the village who would use it for agricultural purposes. He said, “District administration had stopped us from taking any action till May 16, but allowed SGPC to take possession of the disputed land. If injustice is meted out to us, we will take possession of the land.”
Meanwhile, SGPC additional secretary Kewal Singh said, “SGPC had won the case in 1999 and got ownership rights of the land in 2001. Even last year, we had leased out the land for Rs 35 lakh. The villagers are unnecessarily trying to stop SGPC from leasing out the land.”