Farmer Killed In Protest Owned 2-Acre Land, Took Loan For Sister’s Wedding


Dead Farmer Leaves Behind Mentally-Ill Father, Student Sister And A Loan

21-year-old Shubhkaran Singh died after farmers clashed with cops at Khanauri border

Chandigarh:

On February 13, 21-year-old Shubhkaran Singh left his home in Baloke village in Punjab’s Bathinda district to join the farmers’ march to Delhi. Eight days later, he was killed in clashes between the farmers and police near the Khanauri border separating Punjab and Haryana.

The exact cause of Shubhkaran’s death is not known yet. Farmers have blocked the autopsy, demanding that the government announce compensation for his family. They are demanding a central government job as part of the compensation.

Neighbours said Shubhkaran’s family has about 2 acres of land. His mother has died, and his father has been suffering from a mental illness. He has two sisters, one is married, and the other is a student. The young farmer, they said, had taken a loan for his sister’s wedding. A neighbour described the family as “poor”.  

The farmers are marching to Delhi over several demands, including a law to guarantee a Minimum Support Price (MSP) for their crops, pension benefits and crop insurance. MSP is a price fixed by the government and is aimed at protecting farmers from distress sale of their produce. 

Determined to not let the farmers proceed to the national capital, Haryana police has fortified its borders with Punjab. The cops are firing teargas shells to keep the farmers off. Farmers have alleged that rubber bullets were also used during the clashes yesterday. The cops, on their part, have said multiple policemen suffered injuries after protesters threw stones and sticks.

Farmer leader Jagjit Singh Dallewal yesterday said Haryana police was using force against the farmers, even as talks between them and the government to find a way out of the impasse are on. The farmers have rejected the Centre’s offer on MSP, arguing that the formula it is proposing would ensure subsistence but no income. The march to Delhi has been halted for two days as farmers plan the next move. 

On why farmers are blocking the autopsy, Mr Dallewal put forward two conditions. “The Punjab government should declare him a shaheed (martyr) and provide benefits accordingly. And, the government should constitute a five-member board to conduct the post-mortem examination.”

The young farmer’s death has, meanwhile, sparked a massive political storm. Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann has warned of appropriate action against the officials concerned, setting the stage for a Punjab vs Haryana face-off.

Mr Mann is drawing fire at home, with the Opposition in Punjab accusing the Aam Aadmi Party government of collaborating with Haryana police to stop the farmers.

“Farmers and political parties had been crying themselves hoarse, telling you to stop Haryana police from teargasing farmers with drones in Punjab territory. You needed to book Haryana police when they were invading farmers in your state. Why didn’t you? Instead, you and your police kept obeying Haryana government to stop your farmers from using their own machinery and vehicles,” Shiromani Akali Dal leader Sukhbir Singh Badal has said, holding Mr Mann “morally and legally responsible” for Shubhkaran’s death.

State Congress chief Amarinder Raja Singh Warring has said the Chief Minister’s “ignorance has resulted in the brutal murder of a 21-year-old farmer”. “It is about time that you, being the Chief Minister of Punjab, stand by the farmers of our state,” he added.



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