Once the envy of town, Namdhari’s kothi now stands isolated

FP

Six kilometres from Bazpur, in Uttarakhand's Udham Singh Nagar, is Tali farm where Namdhari-ki-Kothi stands out, rising behind 10-feet high walls and towering gates.

A palatial building, it had always been the talk of town, its visitors the envy of all around it. But all you hear now are whispers. Even the neighbours are keeping a safe distance. Suddenly, no one wants to go near the place.

Ever since the sacking and arrest of state minorities commission chief Sukhdev Singh Namdhari for his alleged role in the November 17 gunfight at a Delhi farmhouse where liquor baron Gurdeep "Ponty" Chadha and his brother Hardeep were killed, Namdhari-ki-Kothi has been looking rather forlorn.

Other than police teams searching for wanted men, the gates have not had visitors. No member of the Namdhari family is ready to step out, let alone talk — his aged mother, a neighbour said, is perhaps the only family member there. Repeated knocks and a long wait finally bring an elderly man to an opening near the gate. "We don't want to talk to anyone. Go away, no one will talk to you," he said.

He is not quite wrong. Most people in Tali farm, even Bazpur, wave you away at the mention of Namdhari. "The worry here is that you will be marked as a Namdhari man by police if you start discussing his problems or show interest in his affairs. That's the reason why no one wants to discuss him," the neighbour said.

But there's one who openly admits to "good political relations" with Namdhari. Rajesh Kumar, who was fielded by the BJP for the Bazpur reserved seat in the 2012 assembly polls and lost to his Congress rival, said:

"Everything was moving in the right direction before his arrest in connection with the Delhi farmhouse shooting case. My political relations with Namdhari are more than a decade old. Uttarakhand has never had such an active head of the state minorities commission."

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