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SKM to protest over farmer’s death

CHANDIGARH, FEBRUARY 22: The Samyukta Kisan Morcha on Thursday demanded the registration of an FIR for “murder” over the death of a protesting farmer on the Punjab-Haryana border and announced tractor marches next week.
Subhkaran Singh, 21, had died Wednesday amid clashes between Haryana Police and Punjab farmers, whose Delhi Chalo march has been stalled at the Khanauri border point in Punjab’s Sangrur district.
The SKM, which spearheaded the 2020-21 farm agitation against the now-repealed farm laws, announced that the farmers will observe a ‘black day on Friday to mourn the death.
It also said farmers will take out tractor marches on highways on February 26 and hold a Mahapanchayat in Delhi on March 14.
Speaking to reporters here, SKM leader Balbir Singh Rajewal said a case of murder should be registered in the death of the farmer at the Khanauri border and his family should be given Rs 1 crore in compensation.
Further, Rajewal accused the Haryana Police of crossing into Punjab, firing at protesting farmers and damaging their tractors.
“Haryana Police entered Punjab, fired at us and also broke our tractors. A case under Section 302 IPC should be registered against the Haryana CM and Haryana’s Home Minister. A judicial inquiry should be conducted into the death of a farmer. On March 14, a ‘mahapanchayat’ of farmers will be held at Ramlila Maidan in Delhi”, Rajewal said.
Subhkaran Singh, a native of Bathinda district, was brought dead at a hospital from Khanauri on the Sangrur-Jind border. He had died allegedly in a clash with police, 12 of whom were also injured, at the Khanauri border point on the Punjab-Haryana border.
The incident took place when the farmers rushed to the barricades, several layers of which have been erected by Haryana authorities to prevent farmers from proceeding with their march, clashing with security forces.
The SKM held a meeting here on Thursday to discuss the situation at the Shambhu and Khanauri border points, where thousands of farmers are camping as part of the ‘Delhi Chalo’ call. Several SKM leaders from Punjab, Haryana, and other States participated in the meeting.
Sitting along with farmers at the Shambhu border on Wednesday, Sarwan Singh Pandher, General Secretary of the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee, said both forums ~ SKM and the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee ~ had decided that the ‘Delhi Chalo’ march would be put on hold for the next 2 days.
“We will deliberate on the whole situation, including what happened at the Khanauri border where a protester died and how we have to frame our policy and only then will the next course of action be decided”, he added.
Farmers in Khanauri, one of the two protest sites on the Punjab-Haryana border, claimed that Haryana police personnel fired rubber bullets besides tear gas shells to disperse protesters.
Similarly, police fired tear gas shells to disperse some farmers who started moving towards the multiple layers of barricades at the Shambhu border point near Ambala in Haryana.
By mid-afternoon, there had been at least 3 rounds of tear gas shelling. A drone was also deployed by security personnel at Shambhu to drop tear gas shells.
Following the tear gas shelling, a chaotic situation was witnessed at the protest sites, with the farmers running for cover as the smoke enveloped the area. Many protesting farmers were seen wearing masks and glasses to protect themselves from the gas.
Drones are also being used by police to keep an eye on the activities of the farmers on the other side of the barricades.
The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (non-political) and the Kisan Mazdoor Morcha (KMM) are spearheading the ‘Delhi Chalo’ march to press the Government to accept their demands, including a legal guarantee of MSP for crops and a farm loan waiver.
The protesting farmers have rejected the BJP-led Centre’s proposal for procuring pulses, maize and cotton at MSP by Government agencies for 5 years. This was proposed in the 4th round of talks.
Talks between the farmer leaders and 3 Union Ministers, Piyush Goyal, Munda and Nityananad Rai, have been held on February 8, 12, 15 and 18.
The farmers are also demanding the implementation of the Swaminathan Commission’s recommendations, pension for farmers and farm labourers, no hike in the electricity tariff, withdrawal of police cases, “justice” for the victims of the 2021 Lakhimpur Kheri violence, reinstatement of the Land Acquisition Act, 2013, and compensation to the families of the farmers who died during a previous agitation in 2020-21.
(TNIE with inputs from PTI, ENS and ANI)

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