Farmers going to Singhu allege lathicharge by police

Farmers going to Singhu to demand justice for Lakhbir allege lathicharge by police

According to police, the group claiming to be a part of a farmers' association created ruckus near the Singhu border

Farmers raise slogans during their ongoing agitation against Centre's farm reform laws, at Singhu border. Credit: PTI File Photo

A group of farmers from Hind Mazdoor Kisan Samiti on Wednesday alleged that they were stopped and lathicharged by the Delhi Police in Narela area while going towards the Singhu border to demand justice for Lakhbir Singh, who was lynched at the farmers' protest site for alleged sacrilege.

According to police, the group claiming to be a part of a farmers' association created ruckus near the Singhu border after some of their front cadre started pushing people.

They claimed to have come from Uttar Pradesh and it appeared that they wanted to go towards the Singhu border. When asked, they did not share the exact reason for their visit, a senior police officer said.

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"When asked, they told us that they wanted to express sympathy and do a 'havan' for Lakhbir Singh, who got killed near the protest site at the Singhu border recently," he said.

A farmers' leader, who protested at the Singhu border, said the incident happened in Narela area and the situation at the border is under control now.

However, the situation remained tense at Narela near the Singhu border and police had to use "mild force" to contain the situation there. And, the "unruly" ran amok on the road, police said.

Police said they would have also endangered their own lives as well as that of others since the traffic movement was also in flow during peak time and these people were creating ruckus.

During the incident, there was a possibility that several policemen could have sustained injuries but a few of them got "very minor injuries" while containing the situation, the police official said.

"The farmers wanted to go towards Singhola village, which comes under the jurisdiction of the Narela police station, and is near the Singhu border. But they were not allowed cross the border. Some of them also attempted to break the barricades placed near the border," the officer said.

"So, very mild force was used and when they tried to push the policemen, very mild lathi charge was used when the situation became very tensed," he said.

The situation was contained later but they started raising slogans, police said, adding that all the senior police officers are at the spot along with the force to avoid any untoward situation.

Videos of the incident emerged purportedly showing people in huge numbers raising slogans. The security personnel were also seen trying to control the situation.

The body of Lakhbir Singh was found on Friday tied to a barricade at the Delhi-Haryana border, where the anti-farm law protesters have been camping, with a hand chopped off and multiple wounds caused by sharp-edged weapons.

When Manish Singh, spokesperson of the Hind Mazdoor Kisan Samiti was contacted, he said they want justice for Lakhbir Singh, who was brutally killed allegedly by the Nihangs near the protest site at the Singhu border.

They want compensation for the deceased's family and are upset with the attitude of the Punjab government towards the incident, he said.

"We are with the deceased's family and want justice for them. We had come along with his family to perform his final 'ardas'. After his family approached us saying they cannot go to the Singhu border and urged us to help them," he said.

The spokesperson claimed that they cooperated with the police and also followed the route suggested by them. Around 5,000 members who were coming in hundreds of vehicles from Meerut, Muzaffarnagar and Haryana and Punjab wanted to go to the Singhu border for the same purpose but police "stopped" the vehicles around 6 pm near the Narela police post.

"Police told us that we will have to leave our vehicles here and proceed further on foot. Just when we started walking ahead, police started thrashing us and also lathicharged. Around 10-15 of our people, including Lakhbir Singh's 10-year-old daughter, also sustained injuries during the incident," Singh claimed.

He denied having any association with the protesting farmers at the Singhu border and claimed they are only against the attitude of the Punjab government, which is yet to give compensation to the deceased's family. 

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