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Friday, June 18, 2021

477 protesters died during six months of Delhi morcha, 87% from Punjab: SKM

The figure also includes 31 protesters who committed suicide over the issue of controversial farm laws.

Written by Anju Agnihotri Chaba | Jalandhar |
May 27, 2021 1:22:54 am
In December last year, 48 farmers from Punjab and around 10 from Haryana had died. January witnessed maximum deaths of the farmers, mostly due to the cold wave, as around 120 farmers, including 108 from Punjab (which is more than three farmers daily) alone, died during the protest. (File Photo)

As the Delhi morcha completed six months on Wednesday, farmer leaders said that 477 protesting farmers and their supporters have lost their lives during this period. The deaths, they said, either occurred on way to the Delhi border or at the protest sites.

The figure also includes 31 protesters who committed suicide over the issue of controversial farm laws.

The Sumyukt Kisan Morcha, which collated this data, said that daily nearly 3 deaths took place every day according to this figure. They added that while farmers from several states have died during this protest, but 87 per cent of the reported deaths are from Punjab.

SKM data from November 26 last year to May 26 this year further shows that out these 477 deaths, 415 deceased belonged to Punjab, 51 to Haryana, 6 to Uttar Pradesh, one each from MP, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Uttrakhand and West Bengal.

Most of the deaths took place due to heart attack, illness due to cold weather conditions in December to February, and in road accidents.

Further, most of the deceased were from Malwa region of the state, from districts Bathinda, Sangrur, patiala, Barnala, Moga, Mansa, Patiala, Ferozepur, Fardikot, Mukatsar, among others.

In December last year, 48 farmers from Punjab and around 10 from Haryana had died. January witnessed maximum deaths of the farmers, mostly due to the cold wave, as around 120 farmers, including 108 from Punjab (which is more than three farmers daily) alone, died during the protest.
From February to May 26, 280 deaths took place in four months.

If this year’s protesters’ deaths are to be counted from January to May 26, then around 372 protesting farmers from Punjab have died in the past five months against only 70 farmers who committed suicide due to agri distress in the state last year from January to May 2020. The five-month death rate among protesters is more than five times higher than the farmer suicide rate, the SKM said comparing the corresponding figures.

Dharminder Singh Pashour, block president of the Lehra Gaga unit of the BKU (Ugrahan) who keep a thorough record of farmer suicides in the state, said that last year from January to May only around 70 farmers had taken their lives, but this year the deaths of farmers is more than five times in the same period.

“In the beginning of the protest, our farmers were forced to live under harsh conditions in tractor trolleys and also it was unhygienic because of which several farmers picked illness and died due to several types of ailments in intense cold weather conditions. They could not get timely medical aid, but now the conditions are improving and they have made makeshift and concrete dwellings on the roadside and several doctors are visiting the place voluntarily to treat the ill,” said general secretary, Bhartiya Kisan Union (Dakaunda), Jagmohan Singh. He added that now a makeshift hospital has also been set up because farmers cannot depend on the government, which, he said, has turned totally indifferent towards farmers and left them to die on the roads.

He added: “These deaths of farmers are murders as the government has turned insensitive towards its own anndata.”

Sukhdev Singh Kokrikalan, general secretary, BKU (Ugrahan), said that the young farmers in their early 20s and 30s have lost their lives during the protest.

Harender Singh Happy, who has been compiling details of these deaths for the SKM, said that out of 477 total deaths majority of the farmers, but few of them supporting the protest since beginning they were included journalists, social activists, arhtiyas, and people with no agrarian background. He added that several deaths had gone unreported too.

When contacted, officials in the Punjab government refused to comment on the matter.

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