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Wednesday, November 25, 2020

23 days after 2 deaths during farmer protests: Dharnas outside offices of Mansa, Sangrur DCs lifted, but statements of unions, govt officials differ

A total of 9 farmers have died since September 15 in dharnas against farm laws in various dharnas in Punjab.

Written by Raakhi Jagga | Ludhiana | November 2, 2020 2:11:10 am
Punjab farmer protest, Punjab farmer deaths, Ludhiana news, Punjab news, Indian express newsFarmer unions had organised chakka jam on state and national highways to condemn lathicharge on Haryana farmers. (Representational)

Twenty threee days after Tej Kaur (80) and Meg Das Nagri (72) died during ongoing dharnas in Mansa and Sangrur districts respectively, their bodies were cremated Sunday evening.

Tej Kaur

Tej Kaur had died on October 9 on the tracks of Budhlada railway station in Mansa district, when she was taking part in the farmers’ ongoing ‘Rail roko’ protests against farm laws. She lost her balance and fell on the tracks due to which she died on the spot. Kaur was a resident of Bare village of Budhlada. Her three sons are active members of BKU (Ugrahan) and her family collectively has a loan debt of over Rs 30 lakh. The union had gheraoed the Mansa DC’s residence as well as the DC complex since October 12, due to which the DC was not able to come to office and was working from elsewhere.

The union had demanded Rs 10 lakh compensation, waiver of loans of Tej Kaur’s kin, and a government job for a family member, while the Mansa DC had agreed for Rs 3 lakh compensation. However, on Sunday afternoon, dharna by BKU (Ugrahan) was lifted from outside the DC office and his residence after the union claimed that all their demands had been fulfilled.

Ram Singh Bhainibhaga, president of BKU (Ugrahan), Mansa unit, said, ”On Sunday afternoon, the family was given a Rs 3 lakh cheque and Rs 2 lakh in cash and they have been promised a Rs 2 lakh cheque and Rs 3 lakh in cash at the bhog ceremony.”

However, Mansa DC Mohinder Pal said, “I have given only one cheque of Rs 3 lakh to the family. I am not aware of any cash. About the rest of the amount, we will see to the demand of family…We will be sending recommendation letters of the family members of the deceased to CM office for government job as well as recommendation letters regarding loan waiver. For these demands, decisions need to be taken at the CM office.”

Ram Singh said, “Let them deny, we don’t mind, but on Sunday the administration agreed to give compensation worth Rs 5 lakh via cheque and the rest via cash. They have given 5 lakh on Sunday as told earlier and if they will not give the rest of compensation on bhog, we will stage dharna yet again outside the DC office.”

He further said, “Tej Kaur’s granddaughter’s file will be submitted to the DC office for government job after attaching all documents.”

Meanwhile, as farmers had been sitting outside the DC complex, no vehicle could enter the office and hence employees would go there by foot.

Megh Das Nagri

Megh Das Nagri, a Kavisher (folk singer) of Nagri village of Sangrur district and attached to BKU (Ugrahan), had suffered a heart attack on October 9 afternoon when he was part of a road jam dharna on the Dhuri-Ludhiana state highway. He suffered a heart attack while performing and was declared dead at the hospital.

On October 9, all farmer unions had organised a 2-hour chakka jam on state and national highways to condemn lathicharge on Haryana farmers. After this incident, union members of Sangrur had staged an indefinite dharna on Ludhiana-Dhuri road demanding Rs 10 lakh compensation, job for a family member and loan waiver. For more than 10 days, farmers had shifted their dharna from the state highway to outside the Sangrur DC’s office and residence, due to which work was affected here as well.

On Sunday, Megh Das was cremated. Sangrur DC Ramvir said, “We had earlier agreed to give Rs 3 lakh, but now we have given a cheque worth Rs 5 lakh from CM Relief Fund. They did not give any file related to the job and did not give any file related to loan waiver. Hence, we have done everything on our part. If any files will come, I will send them to the CM office for final approval as it does not come under my mandate.”

9 farmers died during dharnas

A total of 9 farmers have died since September 15 in dharnas against farm laws in various dharnas in Punjab. Long dharnas had been organised only in the cases of Tej Kaur and Megh Das. One farmer, Mukhtiar Singh (70), had died on September 22 when a bus dropping farmers from Badal village to their native village Kishangarh in Mansa had met with an accident. Dharnas had been organised for a week to seek compensation, but it was not given.

Jagraj Singh (57) had died of heart attack at Mansa railway station, his family had cremated his body after taking Rs 3 lakh compensation.

The family of Preetam Singh (65) who had died by suicide at Badal Morcha on September 18, was given Rs 3 lakh farmer suicide compensation.

The family of Wazir Singh, who too was a victim of the bus accident along with Mukhtiar Singh, was not given any compensation. The families of the remaining three farmers did not demand anything from the government.

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