Day after police-farmers clash, Amritsar tense
A day after the clash between the police and agitating farmers in which a farmer, Bahadur Singh (75), died on Friday, tension prevailed here on Saturday as the protesters demanded the release of all their colleagues arrested during the lathicharge.punjab Updated: Feb 22, 2014 22:19 IST
A day after the clash between the police and agitating farmers in which a farmer, Bahadur Singh (75), died on Friday, tension prevailed here on Saturday as the protesters demanded the release of all their colleagues arrested during the lathicharge.
Trashing the police's claim that the farmer did not die during lathicharge, the farmers and the deceased's family sat outside the hospital mortuary the whole day and demanded the release of 42 farmers arrested by the police.
The farmers said they would take the farmer's body only after their colleagues were released. Talks were on between the police, administration and the farmers till the filing of this report.
Deputy commissioner Ravi Bhagat is holding meetings with farmers to diffuse the situation and is also in touch with senior officials in Chandigarh.
Bhupinder Singh, president, KSC Tarn Taran, said, "Farmers were mercilessly beaten up and the police are blatantly lying over the issue. We demand Rs 10 lakh for the deceased's family and government job. All demands of farmers should be met."
"We were just agitating for our demands and the city police beat us mercilessly leading to the death of our colleague," he added
Apprehending retaliation by the farmers, the police on Saturday cordoned off the city, positioning personnel at vital points. A large police contingent was also deployed outside the mortuary. Police force from the neighbouring districts was also called in for assistance.
The clash between the police and farmers is being seen as one of the most brutal in recent years. Even as the police and farmers are blaming each other, the nature of injuries, on both farmers and police personnel, indicate towards the brutality of the clash.
Bricks and stones used by farmers lay all around the clash site. Several pairs of shoes were also strewn around. Bleeding farmers and policemen were seen at Guru Nanak Hospital being treated by doctors.
A woman, identified as Swaran Kaur, showed her limbs she sustained injuries on after she was hit by a teargas shell. Police officials were of the number of tear gas shells that were lobbed to quell the agitation.
In total, more than 30 farmers and 15 policemen were injured.
The Amritsar police could have avoided the lathicharge and firing of teargas on farmers on Friday night had the city police's water cannon unit ready.
The water cannon unit had been sent to Jagraon for Narendra Modi's rally. A large police contingent had been dispatched to Jagraon, as a result of which the local police to ask for assistance from outside.
"Yes water cannon unit was not present as it had gone for Modi rally," admitted police commissioner Jatinder Singh Aulakh.
First Published: Feb 22, 2014 22:17 IST