Massive Farmers’ Protest At Muktsar

Massive protest lodged by BKU Ekta Ugrahan demanding action against Lathi charge on farmers demanding compensation for loss to cotton crop 

farmers protest

A large number of farmers, including women, under the banner of the Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan) in  a massive protest near the Muktsar District Administrative Complex (DAC) demanding the departmental action against the Deputy Commissioner, Malout SDM and DSP for lathicharge on farmers at the sub-tehsil complex in Lambi on the night of March 25.

Notably, farmers stormed into the sub-tehsil complex and held a naib-tehsildar, three patwaris and some other employees captive, while demanding compensation for the loss suffered to their cotton crop due to pink bollworm attack. The police had deployed force and mildly cane-charged them and freed the government employees. In this incident, six farmers and a farm labourer suffered minor injuries. On Tuesday, the police had booked nine farm leaders and nearly 150 unidentified persons in the Lambi case.

Thereafter, farmers had blocked Fazilka-Delhi road on Tuesday and started an indefinite protest outside the DAC on Wednesday. . Reminiscent of an inferno erupting around 40000 farmers including 15000 women built a barricade.

Such an ordering or arrests in Lambi is a testimony to the extent the ruling classes leave no stone unturned in suppressing genuine resistance for democratic demands and are virtually apathetic to their grievances. The spontaneity of the farming community in resisting, particularly women, is most notable. It illustrates the aggravation of economic grievances of the framing community.

Joginder Singh Ugrahan, chief, BKU (Ekta Ugrahan), said, “The indefinite protest will continue until the departmental action is taken against the Muktsar Deputy Commissioner, Malout SDM and DSP. Besides, we are demanding immediate compensation for the loss of cotton crop and cancellation of the FIR against the farmers.”

The farmers pledge to prolong the protest and intensify the agitation with protests in DC headquarters.

Gurpash Singh Pasha, an accused in the Lambi case, said, “We were upset with the naib tehsildar, not others. We told the rest of the staff to leave, but they insisted on staying. Later, the police used force on us after following the DC orders. We want the FIR cancelled, action against the DC and crop loss relief.”

DC Harpreet Singh Sudan said farmers would get the compensation within a few days. Meanwhile, BKU (Ekta Ugrahan) chief Joginder Singh Ugrahan and other senior farm leaders met AAP’s Lambi MLA Gurmeet Khudian at Khudian village.

BKU (Ekta Ugrahan) secretary Shingara Singh Mann on Wednesday said farmers wanted departmental action against Muktsar DC, Malout SDM and DSP.   “The Lambi MLA assured us that all our demands will be discussed with the CM on April 5. We’ll intensify our stir from April 1,” said the BKU leader.

A state level protest may is likely to be held .BKU(Uhrahan)president asked “The Deputy Commissioner once tried to talk to us, but we are not ready to speak to those, who ordered lathicharge on farmers demanding their genuine right. Is this justifiable that farmers of just six villages in the entire district are selected for the compensation?”

Harsh Thakor is freelance journalist who has frequently toured Punjab and written reports on struggles

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