The Kutch police arrested 12 villagers for allegedly attacking a family of Sikh farmers over land dispute on Friday. The incident has irked Sikh farmers who are already protesting the state government’s decision to freeze their land accounts on the grounds that they are migrants.
According to local sources, a group of 40 men had attacked Jaswinder Singh and his family in Loriya village in Bhuj taluka. Sources said Singh lives with a group of 22 Sikh families who were allotted land by the government in 1965. This group owns around 400 acres of land in the village.
“Singh keeps shifting from Loriya to Punjab when there is not much rain in the district. He had gone to Punjab for farming as there was no rain here. Recently, he came back after the district received good rainfall. He found that his land was already being used by some local farmers,” said Vidhi Chaudhary, Superintendent of Police, Bhuj.
Singh has said in the FIR that he keeps shuttling between Loriya and Punjab. Sources also said that the some influential accused have forged documents and claimed ownership of the land.
“On October 9, when the Sikh family refused to compromise, around 40 villagers gheraoed and assaulted him. His house was damaged and they were beaten up,” said a local source.
Singh has identified 15 persons as accused. Out of them, 12 have been arrested so far. They have been identified as Pratap Sinh Jadeja, Khodaji Jadeja, Bhagwan Sinh Jadeja, Raoji Koli, Karuba Jadeja, among others. The “B” division police station in Bhuj has lodged an FIR under various sections of IPC, including 323 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt), rioting among others.
Police claimed that the incident had no connection with the ongoing controversy over freezing of Sikh farmers’ land by the state government. However, the incident has triggered a fresh controversy as local say that such cases are rare in the region.
The Sikh farmers settled in Kutch after former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shashtri’s appeal to settle here for strategic reasons during the war between India and Pakistan in 1965. There are at least 5,000 such families in Kutch. In 2011, a notice of district collector froze their land under Bombay Tenancy and Agricultural Land Act, 1948, that prevents them from selling, buying or taking any loan or subsidy on their land. The case is pending with the Supreme Court.
Source Indian Express
Four Sikh farmers injured by 30 armed men on Tuesday at Loria village near Bhuj city in Gujarat’s Kutch district have named Anjar’s BJP legislator Vasanbhai Ahir as perpetrator.
In a formal complaint to Bhuj police, they have named the member of Gujarat legislative assembly (MLA) and his supporters, and are disappointed at no action, so far. Sensing trouble, their families had met police and the district administration five days ago, yet the law machinery couldn’t prevent the attack.
The issue, in the allegation of Amandeep Singh (37) of Faridkot district originally, is about 500 acres at Loria, 20 kilometres from Bhuj, which he says was usurped and registered wrongfully in the names of other villagers.
“On October 3, a group from Loria questioned our ownership of the land. We showed them the papers, and after satisfying them, started sowing rindi (oil seeds),” said Amandeep over telephone, adding: “We saw them passing by our farm on subsequent days, and on Tuesday they came in a group to attack us, and threatened to kill us after firing several gunshots.”
Along with Amandeep, his relatives Jaswinder Singh (42), Angrez Singh (21), and Harpeet Singh (25) were also injured in the attack. An axe blow broke Jaswinder’s thigh bone. All four are admitted to the Bhuj Civil Hospital. The attackers also demolished a room on the farmland. All attempts to contact the Anjar legislator were futile.
On October 4, Sikh farmers from Loria had approached Bhuj collector Harshad Patel and the deputy superintendent of police. “We got assurances but no help,” said Amandeep. His grandfather, Ganga Singh, and other 22 relatives were allotted the 500 acres in 1964.
“Our families worked hard to make the land fertile. When it has become profitable, politicians and other influential people want to usurp it,” said Surinder Singh Bhullar, one of the farmers who took the Sikh farmers’ battle to the Supreme Court.
Nearly 1,000 Sikh families moved the Supreme Court after the Gujarat government froze their land rights in 2010, based on the plea that they were not farmers. The Sikhs settled in Bhuj post the 1965 conflict with Pakistan won the case in the Gujarat high court, after which the Gujarat government filed a special leave petition (SLP) in the apex court, challenging high court orders.
Cong leader flays assault
Senior Congress leader Fateh Jung Singh Bajwa has condemned the assault on Punjabi-origin farmers in Gujarat’s Loria village. Speaking here on Wednesday, he asked Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi to arrest the assailants, and blamed the attack on Modi’s “anti-Sikh policy”.
Condemning the attack on a Sikh family in Gujarat’s Bhuj district, Punjab deputy chief minister and Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal said on Wednesday that chief minister Parkash Singh Badal would take up the matter with his Gujarat counterpart Narendra Modi.
Addressing a press conference at the district administrative complex here after attending a ceremony wherein Joginder Pal Singla took charge as chairman of the district planning committee, Fatehgarh Sahib, Sukhbir reiterated the SAD’s resolve to extend full security to Sikh families based in other states. He said, “We are already in touch with Modi. The Punjab CM would speak to him in this regard and adequate steps would be taken for the safety of Sikh families settled in other states.”
Chandigarh, October 8
At least four members of a Sikh family were injured when they were attacked by a group of men at their farm in Loria village of Bhuj district in Gujarat early this morning, reports reaching here said. The injured — Amandeep Singh, Jaswinder Singh, Angrej Singh and Harpreet Singh — have been admitted to the General Hospital at Bhuj.
Amandeep Singh told The Tribune over the phone that they were busy sowing fields when a group of around 30 men attacked them with sharp weapons. Some of the assailants allegedly fired shots into the air.
The assailants, alleged supporters of a political party, told the victims to leave the farm, claimed Amandeep.
“We reasoned with them that the land was allotted to us in 1960s, but they ignored our pleas and assaulted us,” he said.
National Commission for Minorities member Ajaib Singh demanded immediate arrest of those involved in the attack and asked the Badal government to take up the issue with the Modi government.
He claimed he had recently talked to Union Home Minister Suhsilkumar Shinde informing him about the threat to the lives of Sikh farmers in Gujarat.
“It was a planned attack on a minority and the Central Government should act in this case,” he said.
Source: Sarbjit Dhaliwal/TNS