Farmers Say Won’t March To Delhi For 2 Days, 1 Dies During Protest

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Chandigarh::

A farmer has died at Haryana’s Khanauri border, where protesting farmers clashed with the police this evening. Farmers’ group AIKS (All-India Kisan Sabha) alleged he died during the police action, which the Haryana police have denied. The farmers have also suspended their protest march to Delhi for two days, though the sit-in protest will continue.

A doctor at a Patiala hospital where Shubh Karan Singh was taken, said he had sustained a bullet wound. A post-mortem is awaited.

“Three patients have come to us from Khanauri. One of them was dead on arrival, the other two are stable and seem to have sustained bullet injuries… but it can’t be confirmed,” said Dr Rekhi, the Senior Medical Officer of Patiala’s Rajendra Hospital.

“The person who was dead on arrival had a bullet injury on his head, but more details such as size of the bullet can only be confirmed after postmortem,” he added.

The Haryana Police had fired tear gas shells at the advancing farmers to thwart their attempts to breach the barricades at the border, the farmers said. The march was continuing after the farmer leaders rejected a proposal made by the government yesterday. It was the fourth round of talks to break the deadlock.

The Haryana Police have denied any death. A post from the police handle on X, formerly Twitter, read, “According to the information received so far, no farmer has died today… This is just a rumour. There is information about two policemen and one protestor being injured at Data Singh-Khanori border who is undergoing treatment.

Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann confirmed the death. Describing how he was acting as the interlocuter, he said, “As soon as I came to know and saw the video, I got goosebumps, I felt very sad,” he told reporters.

After the death, two farmer groups issued angry statements, blaming the state police and the Central government.  

Shubh Karan Singh’s death “is a direct result of police action,” read a statement from the AIKS. “This killing exposes the brutality of the Modi regime even while claiming to be ‘farmer-friendly’. The BJP government in Haryana led by Manohar Lal Khattar is treating protesting farmers—who are marching towards Delhi— like enemy soldiers and is carrying out war-like operations,” the statement added.

“The Prime Minister and the Executive that failed to implement the agreement with SKM signed on 9th December 2021 are solely responsible for the present crisis and the causality,” read a statement from Samyukt Kisan Morcha or SKM.    

Shubh Karan Singh, 23, was a resident of Bathinda. He was the son of Charanjit Singh, residents of village Valo in Bathinda district, said farmer leader Kaka Singh Kotra. His body has been kept at the Rajendra Hospital.

The young farmer, Mr Mann said, was the owner of 2 acres. His mother died early and he was raised by his grandmother. He had two sisters. “Why did he need to go there? He had to go to Delhi, why did he have to stay at Khanauri or Shambhu,” Bhagwant Mann said.

The Protest

The farmers have been protesting with a series of demands, which include enactment of a law to guarantee a Minimum Support Price for all crops, farmer loan waiver and the implementation of the Swaminathan Commission recommendation.

During the last round of talks, which ended past midnight Sunday, a panel of three Union ministers had proposed buying five crops — moong dal, urad dal, tur dal, maize and cotton — from farmers at minimum support price for five years through central agencies.

Union Minister Anurag Thakur today said, “Earlier also, we                       were ready for discussions. Still we are ready and in the future also we will be ready. We don’t have any problem, they are our ‘Annadatas'”.

Union Agriculture Minister Arjun Munda, who is part of the government panel, has appealed to the protesters to maintain peace and resolve issues through discussions.

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