Modi to Badal: No Punjabi or Sikh farmer will be displaced

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Monday assured his Punjab counterpart, Parkash Singh Badal, that no Punjabi or Sikh farmer from the Kutch region will be displaced at any cost.

Modi gave the assurance to Badal who was Gandhinagar to participate in the inaugural session of the three-day 'Vibrant Gujarat Global Agriculture Summit-2013' in a specially convened meeting of Punjabi farmers from Kutch region, a statement by the Punjab government said.

"In 1973, a Congress government of Gujarat had issued a circular that if any agriculturist from outside purchases agricultural land in that state, he will be declared a non-agriculturist. The crisis faced by Punjabi farmers was totally based on this circular issued by the Congress government," Modi said, adding that some people were trying to malign the image of the Gujarat government by spreading canards that his government has adopted a discriminatory attitude towards Sikh farmers from Punjab, who are tilling land in Kutch.

Modi assured Badal that though the issue was sub-judice, his government was committed to safeguard the interests of Sikh farmers. "There was no question of their eviction from Gujarat," he told Badal.

Lauding the role played by Punjabis in socio-economic development of Gujarat, Modi said: "Nearly 50,000 Sikhs had lived peacefully in Gujarat since centuries, thereby intermingling with other communities and playing a proactive role in the state's development... Any officer of the Gujarat government, compelling the farmers to leave the state, should understand clearly that in such a case, he will have to leave Gujarat."

Modi apprised Badal that out of the 784 families settled in Kutch, 245 were from Punjab, 88 from Gujarat and 451 from other states like Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

"The Gujarat government will protect their rights to live peacefully and earn their livelihood with dignity," he added.

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