M A I N   N E W S

4 farmers die in firing
Army out in Sriganganagar
Vishal Joshi and Sanjay Sethi
Tribune News Service

Sriganganagar, October 27
Four persons were killed and six injured in pitched battles between agitating farmers and the police in Gharsana tehsil, forcing the district administration to impose curfew and call out the Army in the trouble-torn pockets of the tehsil on the Indo-Pak border this afternoon.

According to agency reports, as many as 50 farmers were injured in the clashes with the police.

The Additional Chief Secretary of Rajasthan, Mr Surinder Kumar, confirmed that the Army had been called out in the Gharsana, Anupgarh and Rawla areas, where farmers and policemen clashed repeatedly throughout the day.

A judicial inquiry into the incidents of violence has been ordered by the state government. A retired High Court judge, to be named later, would conduct the inquiry, an official spokesman announced in Jaipur.

Trouble had been brewing in the area over the farmersí demand for release of water for sowing in the Rawala and Gharsana areas.

Mr S.N. Jairtah, Additional Director-General of Police, said over the telephone that after a strong crowd of agitating farmers turned violent and tried to lynch a constable, the police swung batons, burst teargas shells and opened fire. Two persons died in the police firing at Rawla while one succumbed to his injuries in a Bikaner hospital. The deceased have been identified as Kalu Singh (18), Mangi Lal and Raj Kumar (23). According to UNI, one person, Jethram Meghwal, was killed in police firing in 3 GD village, 3 km from Gharsana. 

The situation was still tense, sources in the district administration here said.

The government announced an ex gratia of Rs 5 lakh to next of kin of each of those killed and Rs 1 lakh to the injured.

Gharsana tehsil is about 150 km from the district headquarters here. Farmers there have been demanding for the past some time the release of water into the Indira canal so that they could go ahead with their sowing.

It all started this morning when a group of farmers were stopped at a bridge by the police and were allegedly beaten. Then policemen entered a village and beat people there. Agitated at the police action, farmers returned with reinforcement and attacked the police. 

They put up barricades on the Gharsana-Ramsinghwala road and blocked the traffic. Subsequently, the agitated crowd also attacked the tehsil office in Gharsana and other government buildings. It also attacked Rawala police station, where they tried to lynch a constable. The agitators torched some vehicles and pelted stones at the police, forcing the authorities to impose curfew.

Tempers ran high at Gharsana also before the Army was requisitioned to bring the situation under control.

Meanwhile, farmers have given a call for bandh in Sri Ganganagar tomorrow in protest against the police action.Back

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |