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‘They are not farmers, they are butchers’: After murder of Lakhbir Singh at Kundli border, Kasar sarpanch remembers how Mukesh was burnt alive

“These (protesters) are not farmers. They are butchers. Farmers won’t kill people. Whereas these folks are cutting and slicing people who do not conform to their worldview,” said Kumar about the demonstrators who have been protesting against the Central government since last November. 

On Friday, October 15, a gruesome murder was reported from the Singhu-Kundli border protest site where farmers have been camping for more months now against the three farm laws. A badly mutilated corpse of a man, whose hands were chopped and legs cut, was suspended over a police barricade, reportedly by Nihang Sikhs for allegedly committing blasphemy. The victim has been identified as 35 year old Lakhbir Singh.

The grotesque incident instantly called to mind the horrifying fate of the 42-year-old Mukesh of Kasar village in Bahadurgarh, who was burnt alive in a farmers’ tent on the Tikri border on June 16, 2021. In the aftermath of the Kundli border incident, OpIndia spoke to the sarpanch of Kasar, Tony Kumar, to understand his views about the ongoing farmer protests. 

Kasar Village sarpanch says protesting demonstrators are not farmers, but butchers

“These (protesters) are not farmers. They are butchers. Farmers won’t kill people. Whereas these folks are cutting and slicing people who do not conform to their worldview,” said Kumar about the demonstrators who have been protesting against the Central government since last November. 

Speaking on the progress they made with respect to getting protesters removed from the border site after the unfortunate death of Mukesh, Tony despondently responded that their pleas have fallen on deaf ears. 

“We are tired of submitting applications, nothing has happened since then. It is not under the control of the administration. We used to help them (farmer protesters) earlier. Used to go to their meeting when called. But, after the incident with Mukesh, we stopped attending their gatherings or extending any kind of help to them,” Kumar said. 

About the financial help Mukesh’s family has received from the government, Kumar said so far Rs 7 lakhs has been compensated to the family, out of which Rs 5 lakhs were given by BJP’s local MLA Naresh Kaushik and Rs 2 lakh were disbursed by Hisar’s Rashtriya Brahmin Mahasabha. The sarpanch also claims that the process of providing a government job to Mukesh’s widow is still underway. 

However, Mukesh’s younger brother Manjeet disputed the claims of compensation received by the family. Speaking to OpIndia, Manjeet said the family is yet to receive any help from the government. When informed about the claims made by the sarpanch, Manjeet said, “He is like an elder brother to me. He might be trying on his level to get the family some compensation but we are not aware of it.”

He further added, “Our only demand from the government is that those who are guilty of killing my brother should be punished and my brother’s widow should get a job so that the future of the family is secured.”

Manjeet told OpIndia that their family has received financial assistance of Rs 5 lakh from the society. On the nuisance created by the alleged farmer protests, Manjeet says, “We have no personal quarrel with them. The people of the entire Bahadurgarh are suffering from their demonstrations. But what can we do? The government has the authority to solve this crisis.”

It is worth noting that when the OpIndia team reached Kasar after the news of Mukesh being burnt alive, the villagers had told us that they were being harassed by drunk farmers who were present at the protest site in the name of demonstrations. In a complaint filed with the administration, the villagers had said, “For the past 6-7 months, the alleged farmers have created a ruckus on the road adjoining village Kasar. They come to the village under the influence of alcohol and start harassing us, driving tractors at us, molest our women so on and so forth.”

The villagers had asked the administration to remove the farmers with immediate effect. “These people (farmer protesters) have burnt Mukesh alive. These people are not farmers. They are criminals. They are under the influence of liquor all the time. It’s been a year, these people are not going from here. There has been a ruckus over here,” they had said then. 

What happened to Mukesh? 

Mukesh, 42, was the eldest of Jagdish Chandra’s three children. On June 16, 2021, Mukesh succumbed to burn injuries after fellow farmer protestors allegedly set him ablaze at the Tikri border protest site. Villagers had then alleged that Mukesh’s murder was a conspiracy to make him appear as a ‘martyr’ against the farm laws.

OpIndia talked to the bereaved mother, who is still finding it hard to come to grips with the reality that her son was allegedly killed by agitators pretending to be fighting for the rights of farmers. Shakuntala, Mukesh’ mother remembers her son left the house on Wednesday evening for a walk to the nearby field. When we asked her who killed her beloved son, Shakuntala says the protesters killed him. Mukesh had that evening gone for a walk to the nearby field, where farmers protesting against the three farm laws had put up their tents.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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