A 67-year-old farmer, Gurmeet Singh, from Mohali died Tuesday after falling ill while protesting at the Singhu border, while four other farmers from Punjab lost their lives in two separate accidents on their way back to the state from the Delhi morcha. Gurmeet’s fellow protesters and family members said that he had vowed not to return before getting farm laws repealed.
So far more than 20 protesting farmers have died either at Delhi’s borders or in road accidents since November 26, out of which majority are from Punjab.
‘He vowed not to return before getting laws repealed’
Gurmeet, who hailed from village Kundala in Mohali district, died at 12.30 am Tuesday. He had gone to Delhi on December 4. Sources said Gurmeet had been getting chills for the past two days as the temperature had dipped. In the early hours on Tuesday, he collapsed to his death at the border morcha. Surjeet Singh, who was also at the protest site, said that Gurmeet Singh complained of chest pain before his death.
“He had told his family members that he will come only after getting laws repealed or his body will come back,” said fellow farmer Jagvir Singh.
“My father was involved in the protest against the new agri laws from day one. He was among the first people that had gone to Delhi. I used to speak to him regularly and he told me that he would come only after the government repeals farm laws,” farmer Gurmeet Singh’s son, Sukhbir Singh Babbu, said.
He added that his father did not have any such disease and was also not taking any medicines. The family, which owns six acres of land, came to know about the death at 1 pm Tuesday.
4 farmers killed in road accidents
The road accident in which two farmers — Labh Singh (68) and Gurpreet Singh (22) – were killed took place near Karnal when a tractor-trolley carrying 11 farmers of village Saferha in district Patiala was coming from Singhu border towards Punjab. A canter driver hit the trolley from back at around 1.30 am Tuesday due to which trolley overturned killing two farmers, and injuring 9 others.
The injured were rushed to Patiala. While 7 were discharged, two others Kulwant Singh (45) and Hardev Singh (50) are current admitted in Amar Hospital and Rajindra Medical College and Hospital, respectively.
Gurpreet and Labh were cremated in the village Tuesday evening.
“Gurpreet Singh was a marginal farmer with one and a half-acre of land. His sister is married. He had gone to Delhi along with other farmers of the village on December 11,” said Sucha Singh, worker of Krantikari Kisan Union( KKU) from Patiala. All the farmers were from KKU.
Labh Singh’s has three children who are married. He was farming on 5 acres of land.
After the accident, Haryana Petrol Pump Dealers Association announced that all petrol pump owners of the state will make arrangements for farmers to stopover for the night at highway petrol pumps so that they can avoid travelling during night hours. “This decision was taken after the post-midnight accident near Karnal,” said Sanjeev Chaudhary, president of the association.
He added, “We felt sad after hearing this news and hence, our members had even gone to Singhu border to announce that farmers should not travel during night hours in foggy days. They can stay at any petrol pump on highways during night hours, and we will be making arrangements for their night stay, toilets, bathrooms and morning breakfast as well at all the highway pumps.”
Another accident took place in Mohali where a trolley carrying farmers was returning from Delhi when it was hit by a mini truck near Bhagomajra village. This led to the death of two farmers Deep Singh and Sukhdev Singh.
Bodies of two farmers, who were killed in a road accident, were handed over to their family members on Tuesday. Sukhdev Singh was a resident of Dadiana village in Fatehgarh Sahib district and Deep Singh of Popna village.
Those injured were identified as tempo driver Manpreet Singh, Pawan Kumar, Bhag Singh, Moola Ram, Mahipal, Dilbagh Singh and Sukhdarshan Singh. Three among the injured farmers — Manpreet Singh, Sukhdarshan Singh and Mahipal Singh — were referred to the PGI, Chandigarh.
Punjab Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu met the other injured persons at Mohali Civil Hospital and assured them of support from the Punjab government.
At the protest morchas
In another incident, a farmer union leader – BKU (Rajewal)’s Budhlada block general secretary Babu Singh Lamba – suffered a paralytic attack at the Singhu border and was rushed to a private hospital in Bathinda. Lamba, who hails from Datewas village in Budhlada block, had gone to Delhi on November 26. His condition is stated to be stable now.
Meanwhile, Pooran Singh Doda, (75), head of BKU(Ugrahan)’s Muktsar district unit got the hip bone fracture and few more injuries post-midnight at Tikri border, when a car hit him as he was crossing the road to relieve himself. Farmers sleeping in trolleys got up immediately and rushed Pooran to PGI, Rohtak. Tarsem Singh Sewewala, general secretary of Pendu Khet Mazdoor Union, Punjab said, “Incident happened in the dark and hence, we have not sought any action against the car driver, though he had stopped to inquire about the incident. Pooran was walking in a sleepy state.”
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