A day ahead of their planned indefinite protest in Chandigarh, several farmer union leaders and activists were on Sunday taken into preventive custody in a “crackdown” by Punjab Police.
Krantikarti Kisan Union president Shinder Singh Nathuwala was detained in Moga, while the body’s general secretary, Satbir Singh was taken into custody from Ludhiana district.
Seven farmer organisations had last month given a call for an indefinite protest in Chandigarh from Monday demanding the waiver of outstanding private and government loans for farmers and labourers.
They also sought Rs 5-lakh compensation to families of suicide victims as well as a government job for one of their kins and new tubewell connections along with the installation cost.
They are also demanding land ownership rights for cultivators.
Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan) general secretary Sukhdev Singh Kokri said, “We were anticipating police crackdown. That is why we had left homes, but some of our leaders were apprehended by the police.”
“It is high-handedness on the part of the SAD-BJP government, which is snatching our democratic right to protest. We want to protest peacefully, but police are unnecessarily provoking us and picking up our men,” he alleged.
Kokri alleged that some 300 leaders and members were held in Bathinda, Moga, Faridkot, Ludhiana and Patiala districts.
Police said that they have detained members of the outfits but refused to specify the number.
The farmer unions include BKU (Ekta), BKU (Ugrahan), BKU (Dakaunda), and Krantikarti Kisan union.