Farmer's death: Is Punjab CM Mann 'under pressure' from Centre, asks Cong

PTI | New Delhi | Updated: 27-02-2024 21:13 IST | Created: 27-02-2024 21:12 IST
Farmer's death: Is Punjab CM Mann 'under pressure' from Centre, asks Cong
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The Congress on Tuesday slammed Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann for not registering an FIR over the death of a farmer in police action at the state border even a week after the incident and asked whether he was ''under pressure'' from the Central government.

Leader of Opposition in Punjab Assembly Pratap Singh Bajwa also asked the Central government why social media handles of farmer bodies and associations were being blocked while those spreading hatred against the farmer community were being allowed to spew venom in society.

Addressing a press conference at the AICC headquarters here, Bajwa asked why the Punjab government was not acting against the Haryana Police which was responsible for the ''killing'' of Shubhkaran Singh after a bullet hit him during the farmers' agitation.

''The shocking thing is that today it has been seven-eight days since his death, but till now no FIR has been filed nor a postmortem has been done,'' he said.

''I want to ask Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann why no action has been taken on registering an FIR in the death of Shubhkaran Singh, as he was killed during Haryana police action on protesting farmers at the border. Is the Punjab chief minister under any kind of pressure from the BJP government at the Centre,'' Bajwa said.

Shubhkaran Singh (21), a native of Bathinda, was killed in a clash in Khanauri when some protesters tried to head towards the barricades erected by security personnel. The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (Non-Political) and the Kisan Mazdoor Morcha are spearheading the 'Delhi Chalo' march to press the government to accept their demands, including a legal guarantee of minimum support price (MSP) for crops and a farm loan waiver.

Bajwa said that during the farmers' movement against now-repealed farm laws in 2020-21, the Modi government had promised to implement MSP for crops. But sadly, even after three years, no such notification was issued and that is why the farmers want to come to Delhi to demand their rights, he said.

The Congress leader also said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had invited France President Emmanuel Macron as the chief guest for the Republic Day celebrations. Farmers' protests are also going on in France, where President Macron himself met the protesters and listened to their demands, he said, adding that ''the Modi government should learn something from him''.

Bajwa said the Congress expresses full solidarity with the protesting farmers and seeks action into the ''killing'' of the farmer at the Punjab's border.

The Congress leader said the situation was quite sensitive in Punjab and the Centre was ''callously indifferent'' towards farmers and their demands.

He accused the Haryana Police of using aggressive brute force against the farmers, asserting that the protesters had not crossed the Haryana border. He said despite that the Haryana Police lobbed teargas shells and fired pellets leading to injury to about 300 farmers.

Referring to the death of Shubhkaran Singh, Bajwa said while the farmer was talking over the phone, he suffered a ''gun or a pistol shot'' from behind. ''But, even after a week, no FIR has been registered so far in the incident nor has any postmortem been conducted,'' Bajwa said, regretting that Mann has also not taken any action despite ''clear breach of Punjab’s jurisdiction'' by the Haryana Police.

The Congress leader said that the prime minister had not expressed any regret over the incident. He said the deceased farmer owned just two acres of land and had Rs 20 lakh in debt. Bajwa also condemned the attempts by some people on social media to describe the protesting farmers as anti-nationals. The Congress leader said Punjab is known primarily for defence services and farming, adding that now both of these have been made to suffer. While the farmers are facing distress, the Agniveer scheme has affected the youth who wanted to join the military, Bajwa said. He said that three Agniveers had laid down their lives for the country. When their bodies reached their native villages, there was no military honour for them, he added. Bajwa said experts have warned that if the current paddy-wheat cycle continues in Punjab, the water table will drop to an alarming level so much that the state is feared to turn into a desert in another 10-12 years. Besides, the use of pesticides and fertilisers to boost the production has led to spread of cancer in the state, he claimed.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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