New Delhi: Former chairman of Commission for Minorities Tarlochan Singh on Friday sought Prime Minister Manmohan Singh`s help in ensuring that Sikh farmers in Haryana are not "ousted" by the state government following the end of their 50-year lease for tilling.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, he urged him to step in and convince the state government against ousting them.
"We are thankful to you for showing concerns for the Sikh farmers in Gujarat who after 50 years of farming have been ousted," Tarlochan wrote.
"The plight of Sikh farmers in Haryana is much more serious and painful. You remember sir, when you visited Pehowa during election tour, this particular case of the Sikh farmers in that area was brought to your notice and you very graciously made announcement that they will not be ousted and Haryana Chief Minister will take necessary action for protecting their rights," he added.
Tarlochan said 3,500 Sikh families in Kurukshetra and Kaithal districts who were occupying and tilling the land for the last 55 years have forcibly been ousted.
"As you are aware, on the advice of the government of India, Sikh farmers were given barren lands on lease for making these fully fertile in UP, Andaman and Nicobar, Haryana and Gujarat," he explained.
"After the expiry of lease in Haryana, the Sikh farmers were forcibly told to quit. For years, they were fighting in court, and ultimately the Supreme Court decided that legally they can`t be owner of that land but Haryana government shall make provisions to allow them to cultivate the lands," said Tarlochan, who is also a senior sports administrator.
"I may bring to your kind notice that only last month in a village Krah Sahib, the Sikhs were made landless with the help of Police. Some villages where the Sikhs are still occupying the land, the authorities have cut down the power supply to harass them."
"But these poor farmers are denied protection under the existing law that any farmer who has been occupying the land for 15 years cannot be ousted. But these farmers who were there for 50 years are not being given any help," he said.
"I request you to kindly advise the Haryana government to show magnanimity to those who have turned barren land into to a prosperous and fertile area," he added.