Akali Dal condemns Punjab govt for ‘atrocities’ against farmers

Chandigarh: Former MP and senior Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Prem Singh Chandumajra on Wednesday condemned the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Punjab for committing “atrocities” against farmers and devotees at the historic Amb Sahib gurdwara in Mohali, stating the move was reminiscent of the atrocities committed by the Congress.

The SAD leader told the media that “it is shameful that the AAP government has turned gurdwaras into cantonments and even ousted devotees from its premises on the assumption that they had come there to support farmer organisations that had planned a protest in Chandigarh to demand fair compensation for flood ravaged farmers”.

Terming the act as a direct interference in the religious affairs of the Sikh community, Chandumajra said “the disrespect shown to the Sikh community has reminded the community about the ‘raj’ of Beant Singh. I request Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann not to tread the same path as its repercussions would not be in the interest of the state of its people”.

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He also asked the Chief Minister to issue orders to the police not to come in the way of devotees visiting gurdwaras to pay their obeisance.

“I have also requested the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) President to take up the issue and register a strong protest against the mistreatment of devotees who were forcefully taken out of the gurdwara premises,” he said.

“Such incidents hurt the sentiments of the Sikh community. The AAP government should ensure communal peace is not destroyed in the state under its watch,” he said.

Answering a question, Chandumajra said the state government could not impose prohibitory orders in gurdwaras. He said the force used on farmers to stop them from entering Chandigarh was also illegal and against democratic principles.

“The Chandigarh administration had given farmers permission to hold a protest in the UT. The Punjab government is not within its rights to stop them from entering the UT,” he added.

He expressed solidarity with the cause of the farmer organisations and said SAD supported their fight to secure justice for farmers. He said the party had also started a party programme to force the AAP government to pay fair compensation to farmers and said this would be expanded across the state.

“Even though the government has released Rs 186 crore yesterday after the ‘dharna’, this is too less. We demand the government release Rs 50,000 per acre as compensation for farmers whose paddy crop was destroyed and Rs 2 lakh to all those whose houses were damaged.”

He said farm labourers should also be compensated appropriately.

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