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HindustanTimes Sun,23 Nov 2014

Farmer groups to protest against canecharge on Tuesday

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Amritsar, February 23, 2014
First Published: 23:44 IST(23/2/2014) | Last Updated: 23:46 IST(23/2/2014)

Various farmer organisations will come together on Tuesday to hold a protest against the police's lathicharge on Friday to disperse the activists of Kissan Sangharsh Committee (KSC-Pannu), who had taken employees of Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) hostage inside their office complex on Airport Road.

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The decision was taken in a joint meeting by the representatives of farmer organisations on Sunday. These groups include Border Area Kissan Sangharsh Committee, Jamuhri Kisan Sabha, Kirti Kisan Union, Dhiyati Mazdoor Sabha, Pendu Mazdoor Union and Bharatiya Kisan Union (Agrahan).

The protest will be held outside the deputy commissioner's office here, they said.

Border Area Kissan Sangharsh Committee state general secretary Rattan Singh Randhawa said farmer groups i unanimously said the lathicharge could have been avoided had the police used water cannons. Moreover, the manner in which the police went about thrashing the farmers, including women, clearly indicated that the police's attitude was vindictive and the officials exercised no restraint or issued no warning," he said.
Randhawa said they would protest against the "undemocratic approach of the police towards farmers".

Other issues pertaining to agriculture will also be taken up during the dharna. Referring to FIRs being lodged against protesters, including KSC head Satnam Singh Pannu under section 307 of IPC, Randhawa questioned the police commissioner's rationale while imposing this particular section.

"Whose life did the farmers attempt to put under threat?" the farmer leader questioned.
Whether they would demand action against the police commissioner or other police officials, Randhawa said, "We will take a decision in this regard on Tuesday."

He said reduction in domestic rate of electricity was among other demands they intend to highlight during protest. The Delhi pattern proposed by the AAP for charging Rs. 1.80 per unit of electricity should be introduced in the state for the first 400 units consumed, he added.

"Why do small and marginal farmers have to pay for new tubewell connections? These used to be free in the past. The rates proposed for new connections range from Rs. 80,000 to Rs. 2.50 lakh, depending on the tubewell motor type. How a farmer having two acres of land is going to shell out this much money?" said Randhawa.
The Jamuhri Kisan Sabha led by Satnam Singh Ajnala held a protest in Ajnala on Sunday against the lathicharge. He alleged that the SAD-BJP government was gradually turning Punjab into a "police state".

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