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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Lakhimpur-like incident in Punjab: farmers; SAD says its vehicle attacked

Another purported video showed protesters attacking an SUV with wooden sticks. Farmers alleged that Akali workers also fired a few rounds in the air.

Written by Raakhi Jagga | Ludhiana |
Updated: November 11, 2021 8:01:23 am
A CCTV still of a farmer on the SUV bonnet.

It was farmers versus Akali Dal in Ferozepur Wednesday as former Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal visited the constituency for campaigning. While SAD accused farmers of attacking and damaging a party SUV, a purported video of the incident showed two protesters sitting on a bonnet of car in Akali Dal convoy as the vehicle sped away resulting in injuries to one among them.

Another purported video showed protestors damaging the SUV and breaking window panes of the car with wooden sticks.

Farmers also alleged that Akali workers fired a few rounds in the air but no one was hurt.

Buta Singh Burjgill, president of BKU (Dakaunda), said, “This was yet another Lakhimpur-like incident where SAD goons tried to run over farmers but they were lucky. However, our workers got injured in this incident. All we wanted to ask questions to Harsimrat which is out right.”

The SAD has, meanwhile, accused local Congress leaders’ involvement in the protest.

Ferozepur SSP Harmandeep Singh Hans said, “We have come to know about an incident in which a car of Akalis kept on running when few protestors were sitting on the bonnet and also allegations of firing. Akalis have also complained of an attack on their car. We need to verify all the facts through video footage so as to file criminal cases against the culprits. As of now, allegations are being levelled by one group against the other. We are investigating the case and will soon come to a conclusion.”

Earlier during the day, farmers had gathered outside the venue of Harsimrat Badal campaign event near Makhu gate, Ferozepur. Farmer leader Harnek Singh Mehma, who also sat on the car’s bonnet in protest, said, “Even as we were denied permission to ask questions to Harsimrat, few Youth Akali Dal workers thrashed 2-3 farmers to make the rest of us run away. Protesting against this incident, we sat on dharna at Makhu gate. Harsimrat’s vehicle had already left that spot, and when the vehicle carrying Vardev Mann aka Nonni and former SAD MLA Joginder Jindu came, we stopped that vehicle and protested. When two of us sat on the bonnet of car in protest trying to stop the vehicle from leaving without answering our questions, they started driving the car and slowly speed was also increased.”

One protesters, Darshan Singh, fell off and fractured his ribs, said Mehma, adding that a teenage girl and woman in her 50s also got injured. Mehma alleged that “while the vehicle was being driven, SAD leaders fired thrice from inside the car but we escaped unhurt”.

To protest against the incident, BKU (Dakaunda) and other 32 farmer unions of Punjab will gather in Ferozepur on Thursday to demand criminal cases against Akali leaders.

Jagmohan Singh Patiala, general secretary of BKU (Dakaunda) said, “On November 11, we will stage a dharna in Ferozepur demanding attempt to murder case against SAD leaders as they opened fire on farmers. We will not lift the dharna until our demands are met.”

He added, “Farmers from various unions were protesting when this incident happened…Giving the incident a political colour was expected from SAD. SKM has also condemned the incident and we will be staging Thursday’s dharna under the banner of SKM.”

SAD, meanwhile, has stated that Congress “goons” sent by party MLA Parminder Singh Pinki had attacked them.

Former Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal alleged that “Congress goons” backed Pinki allegedly posed as farmers and attacked and fired at senior SAD leaders, including Joginder Jindu and Vardev Mann. Harsimrat stated that firing was done by Congress leaders and not SAD workers.

She said the party had photographic evidence of Municipal Council president Rinku Grover, councilor Parminder Handa and Market Committee vice president Balbir Singh Virk being engaged in a protest against the SAD under the garb of the BKU.

“This is not the first time that the Congress legislator has indulged in such activities,” she said.

She also asked CM Charanjit Singh Channi to intervene in the matter.

SAD chief Sukhbr Singh Badal too asked Channi to order registration of a criminal case against all Congress leaders involved in the incident.

Pinki, meanwhile, said, “I demand a case against Sukhbir Badal for making false allegations against me. We don’t want another Lakhimpur Kheri incident in Punjab. Farmers themselves are giving statements that they were attacked by SAD leaders Vardev Mann and Joginder Singh Jindu. Video footage is proof of the same. So, how can they blame me or other Congressmen? Sukhbir Badal should have expelled Vardev Mann from his party by now as he even fired. Video footage shows the same.”

He added, “I was in Chandigarh and blaming me is baseless. Congress leaders were standing at a separate dharna at a separate location and not at the spot where farmers were protesting.”

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