Saturday, June 1, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

4 more farmers die in firing
Shubhadeep Choudhury
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 31
Four more farmers died today in police firing in Gulkani village on the Jind-Hansi road in Jind district where farmers clashed with a large police party which had arrived to clear the barriers set up by the farmers on the road in response to Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU)'s call to block the Haryana roads in protest against incarceration of BKU members by the state government. One of the injured, Maha Singh, succumbed to his injuries at Rohtak Medical College tonight.

The police party opened fire at the farmers leading to the death three protesters, identified as Dilbag Singh, Bajinder Singh and Pratap Sharma. While Bajinder Singh is from Gulkani, Dilbag Singh and Pratap Sharma were from Rajpura. At least five other protesters were seriously injured in the police action and they were subsequently shifted to Rohtak for further treatment.

On Wednesday, one Rajbir Singh was killed in police firing in the same village following which inhabitants from the neighbouring villages of Rajpura, Ramrai and Gulkani had set up one of most formidable blockade on this road by chopping large number of trees and felling them on the road at atleast ten places bringing vehicular movement of traffic on this road to a standstill. A concrete culvert on this patch was also dismantled by the villagers to inflict permanent damage to the road.

At around five in the evening today, a very large police contingent, comprising of forces from Jind as well as from districts in the neighbourhood of Jind, arrived at the spot to clear the barricades. The protesters pelted the police with stones which was responded by the police by opening fire at them leading to the deaths of three persons. The protesters damaged three buses of the police party while some of the cops were also hit by the stones used by the agitators as missiles.

Police officials claimed that it was very important to free the Jind-Hansi road from blockade as the road was a vital link for movement by army vehicles. Nevertheless the police party retreated later without clearing the road as people living in the neighbourhood started gathering to resist the police advance.

At least six people, including policemen, were also injured today in clashes between police and BKU activists in Hisar district. The agitators had blocked the Barwala-Jind road in Mirchpur village in Hisar. the police resorted to lathi charge when the protesters refused to disperse leading to a clash. Seven farmers were arrested by police in this connection who were later remanded to judicial custody till June 12 by the Judicial Magistrate of Hansi, Mr D.N. Bhardwaj. The farmers were charged under sections 307, 149,332,353 and 186 of the IPC and Arms Act.

Meanwhile, in view of the farmers agitation, the district administration of Jind had stopped plying buses yesterday on all the routes of the district as a precautionary measure but the traffic on Jind-Julana, Jind-Panipat, Jind-Narwana and Jind-Gohana roads was resumed today.

Jind-Kaithal Road, which goes through Kandela village, the epicentre of the ongoing agitation by the BKU, however, continues to remain cut off due to barriers put up by the agitators. The road linking Jind with Bhiwani too is still blocked.

The Rohtak-Jind road also continues to remain blocked for vehicles as protesters had resumed their blockade of the road at Titoli village in Jind district where the police resorted to firing yesterday to disperse BKU supporters. Bus service resumed on this road from the Jind side is being terminated at Julana.

Meanwhile Mr Ghasiram Nain, the BKU President in Haryana, issued a statement condemning firing by police on the farmers. Ridiculing Haryana Chief Minister Mr Om Prakash Chautala’s claim that the farmers were being instigated by Opposition parties, Mr Nain said Mr Chautala was trying to undermine the influence of BKU over the farmers.

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