Protest erupts in Patiala after ‘harassed’ farmer who consumed poison dies
A 55-year-old farmer from Fatehgarh Sahib, Gurlabh Singh, would have been alive today if the police had acted timely on his year-old complaint against city based commission agents (arhtiyas) who had allegedly grabbed his 4-acre land a few years ago in the garb of recovering pending debts.punjab Updated: Dec 14, 2016 15:20 IST
A 55-year-old farmer from Fatehgarh Sahib, Gurlabh Singh, would have been alive today if the police had acted timely on his year-old complaint against city based commission agents (arhtiyas) who had allegedly grabbed his 4-acre land a few years ago in the garb of recovering pending debts.
Two weeks after consuming poison, the farmer could not be saved and died at Rajindra hospital on Monday.
This led to huge commotion at the hospital. Over 300 farmers led by the local unit of BKU-Dakonda staged massive protest, seeking lodging of first information report (FIR) against the accused responsible for Gurlabh’s death and compensation for his family.
Under pressure, the Patiala police on Tuesday booked 10 for abetment to suicide including one Baldev Singh and nine others of his family members for driving farmer to death. They were also booked for cheating and forgery six days after he consumed poison on November 30 by police of Fatehgarh Sahib, where the enquiry was pending.
However, the deceased’s son Davinder Singh said his father had died because of delay in justice. “For last one year, we held protests, gave our complaint to IG police, SSP office both in Patiala and Fatehgarh Sahib to get our land back but nothing happened despite assurances by higher officials.
“It was only after he consumed poison that they woke up and acted against them,” he said. He said his father had the long association with Baldev Singh who used to run arhtiya shop in Chanarthal Mandi near Sirhind. “But he and his family ditched us,” he added.
What is the matter?
As per Gurlabh Singh’s suicide note, he took `5 lakh loan from Baldev Singh in 1997 and to his surprise, the liability surpassed `25 lakh by 2009 as heavy interested was charged from him.
According to his suicide note, Baldev Singh sold Gurlabh’s four acre of land for `68 lakh on a pretext that he would clear his pending loan liability and buy him another piece of land with the rest of `43 lakh.
“Neither we have been returned the money nor any land was given to us,” said Davinder, while adding that they had visited Baldev’s residence in Patiala’s Aman Vihar many a time but were often thrown out.
“Due to the family depression, my younger brother Gurpreet Singh first committed suicide in 2011 and now my father is no more,” he said.
No arrest so far
SHO of Tripuri police station where the FIR is registered said the police were on the lookout for the accused as their house were found locked when the police party was sent there. However, BKU-Dakonda’s local president Darshan Singh said police were still evading their responsibility and trying to shield the accused. We will have to restart out protest if the accused were not arrested soon, he added.
Among those booked include Baldev Singh, three sons- Harjeet Singh, Supinder Singh, Jaspal Singh and their wives Gurdev Kaur, Baljeet Kaur, Yograj Kaur. Baldev’s daughter Baljeet Kaur and grandson Jasjit Singh were also booked.