Express News Service

CHANDIGARH:  Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal on Friday slammed the alleged eviction of Sikligar Sikhs from Madhya Pradesh and deputed a five-member delegation to visit the state to assist the community, which claims it is being harassed, victimised and forced by the state’s police force to leave their homes and take shelter in forests. 

More than 35,000 Sikligars live in Madhya Pradesh along the Narmada River. Both the Punjab and Madhya Pradesh police have in recent times cracked down on the community on the allegations of manufacturing arms and supplying them to anti-social elements.

Sukhbir Badal said Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) president Manjinder Singh Sirsa would head the delegation to meet the Sikligar community members, police and civil administration to verify all the facts and resolve the grievances.

Members of the Sikligar community claim that they have been ignored for decades and even implicated in false criminal cases. The community claims it is finding it difficult to make ends meet as it has been denied land grants or jobs.

Sikligars are a community of blacksmiths, who once specialised in polishing weapons. It is said that the title Sikliga was bestowed upon them by Guru Gobind Singh. Badal said the SAD deputation would take up the issue of the rehabilitation of Sikligars. “We will pursue the possibility of a package to mainstream them,” he added.  Sirsa said it was shocking to witness the current state of Sikligars. “We will meet the Chief Minister soon and ensure that lease of their lands is restored,” Sirsa added.