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Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Farmers’ protest: 55-year-old dies; kin, unions blame Haryana govt crackdown

Gajjan Singh had fallen ill after getting repeatedly drenched during the clampdown on protesters by the Haryana government using water cannons.

Written by Raakhi Jagga | Ludhiana | December 1, 2020 8:57:33 am
Gajjan Singh was unmarried and the entire family of three brothers had 3 acres of landholding in Khatra village

A 55-year-old farmer, Gajjan Singh (55), a resident of Ludhiana’s Khatra village, died at the Tikri morcha Sunday evening. His family and farmer leaders said that Gajjan had fallen ill after getting repeatedly wet during the clampdown on protesters by the Haryana government using water cannons. On Monday, farmer leaders refused to cremate the 55-year-old’s body demanding that Haryana government officials should be booked over his death. The farmer’s body has been kept at the Bahadurgarh Civil Hospital mortuary.

On Sunday evening, Gajjan had collapsed while going to the toiled and was rushed to the hospital where he was declared dead. Gajjan was associated with BKU (Sidhupur) union. The 55-year-old farmer was unmarried and the entire family of three brothers had 3 acres of landholding in Khatra village.

Out of three brothers, only the elder one — Nirmal Singh – was married. Gajjan and the youngest brother, Sajjan Singh, were unmarried. Nirmal had expired a few years ago.

Nirmal’s son, Hardeep Singh, who reached Bahadurgarh on Monday morning, said,”I find Haryana and the Centre government responsible for this incident. They are forcing farmers to sit on dharnas for the past many months. My chachaji got sick after getting wet repeatedly and could not take care of himself at morcha due to which he caught cold and died. I am in deep shock. We don’t value a human life in this country.”

Explained: Who are the Punjab and Haryana farmers protesting in Delhi, and why?

Kaka Singh Kotra, state general secretary of BKU (Sidhupur), said, “He got wet 2-3 times when we entered from Khanauri border on November 26. I was along with him and we faced teargas, water cannons at several places all the way. He could not change his clothes every time he got wet. We reached Tikri border in the wee hours of November 27, and our trolley to had got wet from inside where mattresses we had laid out mattresses. Here he continued doing langar sewa on November 27-28. On November 29, he started feeling unwell and in the evening when he got up to go to the toilet, he fell down and was declared dead when taken to hospital. We have given in writing to Haryana and Centre government that his family members should be given government job and concerned officials who troubled farmers in Haryana should be booked. We value his life in crores. So, we have not sought any compensation from the government as money is no replacement for a human being.”

Gajjan is the third farmer to die in during the Delhi Chalo protests by farmers. Dhanna Singh (45) died in a road accident in Bhiwani on the way to Delhi on November 27. Janak Raj Aggarwal ( 55) died while sleeping in a car on the intervening night of November 28-29. Janak’s body too has been kept at the Bahadurgarh Civil Hospital mortuary.

Help for protesting farmers

The Indian Overseas Congress (Germany) has announced earmarking Rs 1 crore for farmers of India who are losing lives in farmers’ struggle going in the country as of now. Parmod Kumar Mintu, president of Indian Overseas Congress (Germany) in a press statement said, “Farmers struggle has become a mass movement in the country which though started from Punjab. If any farmer (from any part of the country) dies or gets injured during this morcha due to one or other reason, then we will give financial help to the family of that farmer. We have got to know that many farmers have died during morchas due to accident, health issues. We will also help in the education of their children.”

He added, “We have written letters in this connection to AICC chief Sonia Gandhi, Congress presidents of all states of India. Even Punjab CM has also been sent a letter in this connection. They have also been asked to help farmers financially, and also by giving job to one family member.”

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