Monday, May 20, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

One dies as farmers clash with police
Our Correspondent & PTI

Jind, May 19
A farmer was killed and 23 persons — six policemen and 17 farmers — were injured in brickbatting and firing at Nagura village in the district this afternoon, the police said.

The police had to fire in the air after protesting farmers tried to break a police cordon and march to Kandela village for a protest rally of the Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU).

Ram Sarup, a farmer of Shimla village in Kaithal district was killed when a sharp-edged thing pierced his stomach during the stampede which ensued when the farmers tried to break the barrier.

Seventeen farmers and six policemen, including Deputy Superintendent of Police Raj Singh, were injured in the stone-throwing and chaos that followed firing in the air by the police to disperse the farmers.

The police said farmers threw stones at the policemen who had set up a barrier at Nagura to stop farmers from proceeding to Kandela in view of prohibitory orders in force under Section 144 of the CrPC, banning the assembly of five or more persons.

The farmers have been demanding the waiver of outstanding power bills and release of arrested BKU workers.

The injured were admitted to the local Civil Hospital where their condition was described as under control.

A police spokesman said in Chandigarh that the police post of Nagura village was set on fire by the protesting farmers.

He charged that the police used utmost restraint in tackling farmers who were allegedly armed with illicit arms, lathis and other lethal weapons when they attacked the policemen.

He said the body of Ram Sarup had been handed over to his next of kin after a post-mortem.

Meanwhile, even though the administration had declared the BKU’s Kandela rally illegal, many farmers took part in it today.

Talking to newspersons before the start of the rally, the state president of the BKU, Mr Ghasi Ram Nain, alleged that the Chautala government had not fulfilled the promises made before the elections and had cheated the farmers. He said Mr Chautala had promised that on coming to power the pending electricity bills would be waived off. But instead of waiving off the bills, the government was trying to recover them forcibly, he alleged.

Mr Ghasi Ram Nain said after last year’s agitation in Kandela, an agreement was reached between the government and the BKU. He said one of the terms of the agreement was that the cases registered against the farmers in connection with the agitation would be withdrawn. But instead of implementing the terms of the agreement, the government had arrested the agitating leaders, he said.

He said until the government implemented the terms, the agitation of the BKU would continue. He threatened that if the BKU’s demands were not met, a “non-cooperation” movement would be started and no government dues would be paid.

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