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Standoff continues between Punjab government and farmers over FIR against Haryana police for the 'murder' of a young farmer

PUNJAB NEWS EXPRESS | February 24, 2024 09:42 AM
Shubhkaran Singh allegedly shot dead by Haryana Police
Shubhkaran Singh allegedly shot dead by Haryana Police

Family refused to cremate dead body untill a murder case is not registered against Haryana Police
By Satinder Bains
CHANDIGARH: The Bhagwant Mann government in Punjab is tied in a difficult situation as the stand off with protesting farmers continued for third day today over registration of FIR against Haryana Police personnel who 'killed' a young farmer Shubhkaran Singh at Khanuari border on February 21.

The farmer organisation part of Samyukt Kisan Morcha (non-political) and the family of the victim had refused to cremate the dead body unless a FIR is registered for the murder of Shubhkaran Singh. The deceased was part of the group of farmers protesting near the Haryana border where Haryana Police and para-military forces were deployed in large strength.

The Haryana government has blocked the roads leading to Delhi to prevent entry of farmers who wanted to go to Delhi by crossing heavily barricaded roads at Shambhu and Khanuari borders. The police have laid concrete blocks, barbed wire and nails on roads.

The police personnel deployed on the Khanauri border had fired teargas shells and gunshots on the farmers who were raising slogans against Haryana and centre governments. According to eyewitnesses, a bullet hit at back of the head of Shubhkaran who was running back to safety. Several other farmers were also injured and taken to hospital. Haryana police has alleged stone pelting by crowd thus injuring several policemen.

The farmer organisations and opposition political parties of Punjab had targeted Bhagwant Mann for allegedly working in collusion with the centre and Haryana governments. Punjab Chief Minister was held responsible for the death of Shubhkaran Singh as he failed to take a stand against Haryana government which let loose terror on farmers. The Haryana police had allegedly entered in Punjab's territory and kidnapped some youth, throwing teargas shells with the help of drones for the last two days.

Smelling the anger of the farmers of state over the incident, Punjab Chief Minister on the night of February 21 came live on social media to condemn the action of Haryana police and he assured to register a case after post mortem of dead body. He gave an assurance of exemplary punishment to the guilty. The Chief Minister also announced a compensation of crore for the family of Shubhkaran and government job to his younger unmarried sister.

The farmer leaders got angry when even after 24 hours of post mortem of the dead body of Shubkaran Singh, no FIR was lodged by the Punjab police. The farmers and the family announced not to cremate the dead body till the time FIR of murder is not lodged. The farmer leader Jagjit Singh Dallewal and Swaran Singh Pandher have alleged that senior police officers were pressurising the family to cremate the dead body and accept the compensation. The father of Shubhkaran has refused to accept the compensation if FIR is not registered.

It is presumed that Chief Minister was under pressure from centre government not to act against the Haryana police. No statement has been issued either by the Chief Minister office or AAP leadership to counter the allegations of collusion with Haryana government.

Bhagwant Mann had taken the initiative to arrange four meetings between farmers and the centre government and he attended three of the four meetings. He claimed that he attended the meetings as guardian of the state.

The incident has also sparked widespread resentment among the people of state and gave an opportunity to opposition parties to attack Bhagwant Mann. The SAD and Congress have demanded to book Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and Home minister Anil Viz besides police officers who ordered the firing on peaceful farmers. The BJP state president Sunil Jakhar has also demanded a probe into firing and expressed sympathy with the family of deceased.

The farmer organisations have postponed the agitation till February 29 and put the Punjab Government on notice to register the 'murder' case.

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