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Farmers’ protest: Indian farm groups observe ‘Black Friday’ after death of a farmer

The protesting farmers are observing a ‘Black Friday’ today in response to the death of 22-year-old Shubhkaran Singh during the agitation

by Web Desk
Farmers' protest: Indian farm groups observe 'Black Friday' after death of a farmer

  The young farmer, who was a protestor, died of a bullet wound in his head on Wednesday. Singh’s death has triggered a furore among the farmers who are protesting over a set of demands that primarily includes a legal guarantee on MSP (Minimum Support Price). 

The Samyukta Kisan Morcha, which led the 2020-21 farm laws protest, has demanded an FIR be lodged, under murder charges, against Haryana government officials and the state’s home minister.

On Wednesday, Singh died of a bullet injury on his head at the state’s Khanauri border when Haryana security personnel used tear gas shells and allegedly also rubber bullets against the protesters.

22-year-old Singh Is The First Casualty In Ongoing Protests

Singh is the first casualty amid the ongoing “Delhi Chalo” protests. The young farmer’s death has cast a shadow over the possibility of resolution between the protesting farmers and the Centre. Meanwhile, condemning the police action at the protest site, several farmer groups have demanded that Singh be declared a “martyr.”

In an official statement on Thursday, the SKM called for a nationwide mobilization of farmers against the “repression of the farmers’ struggle. “SKM fully blames the Union Home Minister Amit Shah for conspiring to carry out severe repression…(to)divide the Kisan movement… and try to take electoral advantage of this division,” it said. The statement demanded the resignation of Amit Shah, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and the state’s Home Minister Anil Vij. 

The SKM has also demanded that a murder case be filed against Shah, Khattar, Vij, and the police after Singh’s death. Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait said that farmers will take out a tractor rally on Monday. “We will take tractors… toward the way…to Delhi… On March 14, there will be a programme at Ram Leela Ground… The government keeps saying that they are not stopping us… let’s see if they will stop us,” he stated.

NSA Will Not Be Invoked Against Protesters

The Haryana Police on Friday announced that it will not invoke the National Security Act (NSA) against protesting farmer leaders at the state border. This comes a day after it said that it had initiated proceedings to seize the assets of farmers who have damaged public property during the protests. 

“Proceedings have been initiated under the NSA…against the chief officials of farmer organizations and the agitators,” Ambala police said yesterday.

In a statement, Inspector General of Police (Ambala Range) Sibash Kabiraj said on Friday that the matter has been reconsidered and NSA will not be invoked. The police officer also urged the protesters to maintain peace and cooperate in maintaining law and order. 

The tensions between farmers and authorities have led to clashes, with reports stating two police officials have died, and over 30 people injured during the ongoing protests.

Meanwhile, the chief minister of Punjab Bhagwant Mann has announced an INR 1 crore compensation and a government job for Singh’s sister.”

Due legal action will be taken against culprits,” Mann said in a post in Punjabi. According to reports, the post-mortem examination of Singh, whose body was kept in a mortuary of Rajindra Hospital in Patiala, was delayed as the farmers pressed for acceptance of their demands. As per reports, the family has also refused the compensation demanding punishment of the culprits.

Meantime, amid the heightened tensions, Union Minister Anurag Thakur has appealed to the protesting farmers to refrain from violence, once again assuring that the government is open to dialogue to address their concerns. 

To recall, farmers resumed their agitation on Wednesday once again after talks with the Centre on Sunday failed to reach any conclusion on a legal guarantee for MSP. The Centre, after the fourth round of talks, proposed that the government-promoted cooperative societies purchase maize, pulses, and cotton at MSP for five years. However, the farmers want all crops to be covered and not a selection so all farmers benefit equally.

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