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Monday, September 20, 2021

Government says ‘mild force’; farmers claim wounds needing stitches in head, bruises on body

Karnal Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Yogesh Sharma said seven farmers were brought to the Civil Hospital after the lathicharge and discharged the same day.

Written by Sukhbir Siwach | Chandigarh |
September 1, 2021 8:37:12 am
Ravinder Saroha with two other injured farmers went to the farmers panchayat at Gharaunda of Karnal, Monday. (Express Photo)

WHILE the Haryana Police claimed to have used only “mild force” to break up a farmers’ protest in Karnal on August 28, which has led to a controversy, the nature of the injuries sustained by the protesters suggests different.

Karnal Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Yogesh Sharma said seven farmers were brought to the Civil Hospital after the lathicharge and discharged the same day. Farmer leaders, however, say that the injuries were serious enough for many of them to require multiple stitches, including for head wounds, and that one of the farmers continues to be hospitalised claiming loss of vision. Haryana BKU leader Gurnam Singh Chaduni said 51 farmers had received injuries, with 11 sustaining “serious injuries”. The farmers also claimed that some of them were turned away by the Civil Hospital.

Karnal SP Ganga Ram Punia said 24 medico-legal reports (MLRs) had been issued by the Civil Hospital for injured policemen while 28 MLRs had been issued to farmers, with the doctors terming the injuries “simple”.

Ravinder Saroha, a Dalit farmer who has been part of the protests since the beginning, said he required stitches in his head, apart from treatment for injuries on legs, shoulder, stomach and back. “I feel pain and dizziness whenever I try to get up from the bed.” A doctor confirmed he had received 15 stitches.

Saroha claimed the policemen kept hitting them even when they had fled the spot of the protest. “They chased us into the fields. I fell and police kept beating me, even when I started bleeding from the head and passed out. A sardarji gave me a piece of cloth for the head wound. Then the policemen came and beat me again.”

He said a friend took him to the Civil Hospital on his motorcycle. “But the officials there said persons related to the farmer agitation would not be admitted. Then, I went to a private hospital, and after receiving the stitches, went back to the agitating farmers. Later in the evening, we went to the Civil Hospital again when farmer leaders asked us to do so. Only when farmer leader Rakesh Tikait came to the hospital Sunday, my X-ray was done,” Siroha said, adding that several tests recommended for him were yet to be performed.

Gurjant Singh, 23, admitted at Kalpana Chawla Government Medical College in Karnal, claimed he was unable to see from his right eye, while brothers Ranbir Punia and Mahender Punia, from village Barota, said they had bruises on their hands, legs, stomach and back.

The Director of the Medical College, Dr Jagdish Dureja, said Gurjant had received “a minor injury on his nose”, and they had asked him to stay in the hospital for a couple of days. “The patient said there was redness in an eye and the visibility from it low. He was examined.

The doctors said the redness will fade away gradually. If the patient wishes, he can go home,” Dr Dureja said, criticising claims on social media that a person had lost his eyesight on account of injuries.

Karnal DC Nishant Kumar Yadav said “the use of force was minimum”, and not meant to harm anybody but to get the highway opened.

Karnal Civil Hospital’s Principal Medical Officer Dr Piyush Sharma said, “None of the injuries was serious.” He also denied that anyone was turned away, adding that the farmers were brought in on government ambulances and proper treatment was given.

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