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Farmers’ Protest stopped for 2 days after the clash with police at Khanauri, announces farmer leader Sarwan Singh Pandher

A farmer protestor named Shubh Karan Singh reportedly died after he was injured during a clash with police at Khanauri border. While protestors have claimed that he was shot by police, the police have denied firing on protestors, and refuted the reports of the death

On Wednesday (21st February), Punjab Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee head Swarn Singh Pandher announced that the ‘Delhi Chalo’ march of the Punjab farmers has been suspended for two days – 22nd and 23rd of February. He added that a decision would be taken after analysing what transpired in the Khanauri incident and they would disclose their next strategy, and future course of action on Friday evening. 

“We will have discussions over the incident that took place in Khanauri. There will be a two-day stay on our march towards Delhi. We will clarify the entire situation later as to what our further movement will be,” he was quoted saying by news agency ANI.

Notably, a farmer protestor named Shubh Karan Singh reportedly died after he was injured during a clash with police at Khanauri border. He was rushed to Government Rajindra Hospital in Patiala, where an injury on his head was found. While protestors have claimed that he was shot by police, the police have denied firing on protestors. Reportedly, doctors said that Singh was hit by a rubber bullet.

However, Haryana Police have denied the report of the death, saying that no farmer has died.

Meanwhile, the Haryana government has extended the suspension of internet services till February 23 keeping in view the tensions at the Haryana-Punjab border. 

The development came after the farmer protest took a violent turn on the resumption of the Delhi Chalo march on February 21, after a brief halt. Notably, clashes broke out between protesting farmers trying to break barricades and create tear gas of their own, and security forces deployed at the Punjab-Haryana border, particularly the Khanauri border. 

As per Haryana police, three police personnel have died at the farmer protest sites. The farmer protestors today mixed chilli with stubble and burnt it, creating their own tear gas smoke. They then attacked the police with sharp weapons and resorted to heavy stone pelting. 12 policemen were seriously injured in the attack.

Jind police said that using the cover of smoke, the protestors took out their swords and attacked the police. Some protestors also used spears and machetes. To control the situation, police used tear gas to disperse the farmers.

AIG, (Administration) and Spokesperson of the Haryana Police, Manisha Chaudhary stated that the Police personnel were surrounded at the Data Singh-Khanori border by the protesting farmers’ who poured chili powder mixed in the stubble and set it on fire. They also attacked the policemen using sticks and sharp weapons as well as pelted stones. Around 12 policemen sustained serious injuries in the attack.

Additionally, the Haryana Police denied reports of abducting a protestor describing it as fake news. It added that the said protestor was admitted to hospital but he is out of danger. 

The Haryana Police post read, “The fake news of the abduction of one farmer named Preet s/o Davinder Singh r/oVillage Nawa Gao Dist Sangrur by Haryana Police at Khanauri border is strongly denied. He is admitted in PGI Rohtak by Haryana police for treatment and is completely out of danger.”

Other key developments of Farmers’ protest

It is pertinent to note that earlier in the day, Union Agriculture Minister Arjun Munda had invited the protesting farmers to hold a fifth round of talks. He added that the government is ready to have discussions on all issues including MSP, stubble burnings, and crop diversification. 

The protesting farmers in the Punjab-Haryana border began their march today donning gas masks and fortified gear to face the police. This is a week after the farmers failed to cross the border given the heavy police presence.

Amid the farmers’ protest, the Punjab DGP had issued orders stopping the movement of JCBs, Poclaines, Tippers, Hydras and other heavy earthmoving equipment towards the Punjab-Haryana Border at Khanauri and Shambu. The order was issued after a written request for the same by DGP Haryana.

Notably, the Punjab and Haryana High Court ruled that tractor-trolleys cannot run on highways as per the Motor Vehicles Act. The court also reminded the farmers to follow constitutional duties regardless of everyone knowing their fundamental rights.

The protesting farmers demanding Centre to enact laws ensuring MSP among other hosts of demands have been camped at the Shambhu and Khanauri border posts in Punjab and Haryana since their march was halted by security forces on 13th February.

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