Bathinda: The police resorted to a mild lathicharge and used water cannons to disperse the Congress workers, who were marching towards the residence of Punjab agriculture minister Tota Singh in Moga on Sunday. The protesters had planned to gherao the residence of the minister.
The Congress workers, led by Indian Youth Congress president and Congress MLA from Gidderbaha, Amarinder Singh Raja Warring, were demanding resignation of the minister for his alleged involvement in the multi-crore pesticide scam, which led to a huge damage to the cotton crop due to the whitefly attack.
Hundreds of Congress workers had gathered in Moga but the police didn’t allow them to go towards the minister’s house. The administration had deployed a number of policemen and cordoned off the entire area around the minister’s residence.
However, ignoring the warnings by the police no to move ahead and go back, the Congress workers tried to jump over the barricades, following which the police resorted to a lathicharge. Water cannons were used later on to disperse the protesters.
Later on, the police detained Warring, senior Congress leader Inderjit Singh Zira and other workers and took them to the local police station. However, they were later released.
Addressing the gathering, Warring said the Congress would not stop protesting against the Punjab government till its agriculture minister resigned from the post since Tota Singh and his department are solely responsible for the farmers’ losses in the cotton belt.
“Why is the state government, especially the Badal family, shielding Tota Singh as the multi-crore pesticide scam, pegged at Rs 33 crore, is testimony to rampant corruption in the agriculture department,” Warring asked.
Warring demanded an independent inquiry from reputed investigative agencies into the scam.