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Protest over Kabaddi coach’s death: Farmer unions extend support, kin say cops aware of drug problem in village

An FIR regarding the alleged May 26 clash, lodged with Gill Kalan police station, states that Harwinder and his friends had been allegedly attacked by some villagers — identified as Gurjeet, Gagna, Babbu — after they had lodged a complaint against Gagna and Babbu for stealing poultry.

Written by Raakhi Jagga | Ludhaina |
June 12, 2021 12:47:52 pm
At the protest site on Bhatinda-Chandigarh highway. (Express Photo)

Farmer unions have extended support to the family of kabbadi coach Harwinder Singh, who succumbed to injuries he had allegedly sustained during a clash on May 26. 

An 11-member committee from Chauka village has been formed to talk to the police. Members of BKU Dakaunda are also part of the committee. However, meetings between SSP, IG and the committee did not yield any results.

Chauka village residents on Friday continued their dharna on the Bathinda- Chandigarh highway for the second day over the death of the kabbadi coach. His kin demanded that the FIR include drug smuggling charges, apart from compensation and a job for a family member.

An FIR regarding the alleged May 26 clash, lodged with Gill Kalan police station, states that Harwinder and his friends had been allegedly attacked by some villagers identified as Gurjeet, Gagna, Babbu after they had lodged a complaint against Gagna and Babbu for stealing poultry.

The family of Harwinder however, claim that the coach was beaten to death by ‘drug smugglers’. In the May 26 FIR, Gurjeet and his friends and a few others had been booked.

Dev Singh, a marginal farmer, and Harwinder’s father, said, “We have no idea why police have mentioned theft of poultry as the reason for the clash in the FIR. My son was helping me in farming on my three acres land and he used to play and train kabaddi players. He was a health and fitness freak and hence used to stop people from consuming drugs. He also used to stop the group which clashed with him from selling or consuming drugs.”

He further said: “My son was attacked by Gagna, Babbu and others only because he stopped them from selling drugs. Police knew about the matter but they never understood the gravity of this problem and rather encouraged this clash-like situation. We will not cremate the body, unless we get justice.”

Baldev Singh, another villager, said, “Tension due to theft of poultry had happened between two groups long back. Hence linking it now is a big surprise. Police could have managed this situation, had they acted in a mature manner. Harwinder was beaten by a group of villagers, his video was also shot and made viral, even then police did not arrest them initially. They were arrested only after he died of injuries.”

Harwinder’s brother Gurwinder is also a member of the committee. He alongwith other villagers went to meet IG Bathinda range and the meeting was going on till the time of filing this report. 

Manjeet Dhaner, senior vice-president of BKU Dakaunda, who was part of the meetings between the police and the committee, said, “Police are stuck on the story of poultry theft while drug smuggling was the main issue. Theft of poultry birds had also happened after consuming drugs only. There were more than 20 persons who had come to attack Harwinder and his friends, out of which five were booked by name. Police have arrested six persons as of now but not the ones who are named in the FIR as they have political patronage. We demand that hospital bills of the injured boys be waived off, as well as compensation to the family. Our protest will continue till the time demands are not met.”

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