Twelve farmers and three cops were injured when the police resorted to lathicharge at at Hariaua village near here on Thursday. The farmers were opposing the district administration's move to take control over the panchayat land in the village.
The cops used force when farmers, owing allegiance to Bharti Kisan Union (Dakaunda), started pelting cops with stones after the administration started a drive to seal all houses built on the government land.
The police also fired teargas shells and beat up farmers to take control over the situation. More than 20 farmers, including women, were detained. The administration sealed all houses built on government land and has also snapped electricity connections.
Superintendent of police (SP headquarters) Sharanjit Singh said the block development and panchayat officer (BDPO) tried to take possession of houses by showing the Punjab and Haryana high court orders, which directed the administration to take control of the panchayat land illegally occupied and tilled by some farmers. The occupants opposed the move and resorted to violence, he added.
The police had to use force to implement the high court orders. All illegal houses and tubewells have been sealed, he said.
Meanwhile, BKU (Dakunda) president Darshan Pal alleged that the lathicharge had exposed the anti-farmer face of the Punjab government. He said the occupants had a relief order from court but the cops were not ready to listen. He said to oppose the repressive attitude of the state government and the police, the farmer associations would start indefinite hunger strike in front of deputy commissioner's office from Friday.
He also demanded immediate release of the farmers detained by the police and registration of a first information report (FIR) against the policemen who used force on the farmers. He said the farmers had spent lakhs on turning the land fertile in the past 20 years. The administration cannot remove them from here without providing land at an alternative place. He said all farmers, who were forcibly ousted, should be compensated or the land should be given to them on lease.