A farmer died in the The deceased was identified as Bhura Singh (73), a resident of Kot Dharma, Mansa. He was a member of the Bharti Kisan Union (Ugrahan).
In a preventive measure, 92 farmers had been arrested on September 20 in Mansa during a protest against the Punjab government. On a call given by farmer unions, the protesters were demanding the cancellation of FIRs registered earlier against farmer leaders. They were booked under sections 107 (apprehension of breach of peace and tranquility of an area) and 151 (arrest to prevent the commission of cognisable offences) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) and lodged in the Nabha jail as the Sangrur jail was filled up.
Following Thursday's developments, the district administration released all farmers at midnight, even as deputy commissioner GK Singh ordered a judicial probe into the farmer's death, to be conducted by the chief judicial magistrate.
Trouble started at 4.40pm on Thursday, when farmers reported to the jail hospital that Bhura was having severe chest pain. The doctor on duty, Dr Puneet Kansal, asked his assistant to give him painkillers. Around 7.30pm, Bhura's condition worsened and he died in the jail barracks, even as the jail authorities were planning to shift him to a hospital. The death led to a protest in the jail by farmers, who refused to give up the body.
In a bid to take away the body, the jail authorities, along with some inmates, resorted to a lathicharge on the farmers, said Inderjit Singh, an injured farmer who was admitted to the Nabha civil hospital. He alleged that the denial of proper medical aid led to the farmer's death.
The body was shifted to the civil hospital for a postmortem examination. Heavy police force was deployed in the hospital, besides entry points of Nabha, as the farmers gathered for a protest.
Deputy commissioner GK Singh and senior superintendent of police (SSP) Hardial Singh Mann also visited the spot.
Jail superintendent Joga Singh claimed that proper medical aid was provided to the jail inmate, adding that he died on the way to hospital. He alleged that it was the farmers who had hampered medical treatment in the jail.
Ram Singh, a BKU leader, said farmers would continue their protest till a case of murder was registered against the jail authorities. He also demanded compensation and government job for the family of the deceased farmer, besides relief for the injured farmers.
Meanwhile, the Association for Democratic Rights (ADR), Punjab (Patiala unit), has condemned the death of an activist of the Bharti Kisan Union (BKU, Ugrahan) in the Nabha jail due to alleged negligence of Dr Kansal and the jail authorities. In a press note, Dr Ranjit Singh Ghuman, association president, and Vidhu Shekhar Bhardwaj, secretary, demanded strict action against the doctor and the jail authorities.