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Sunday, Sep 22, 2019

Punjab police detain 160 farmer activists in wake of protest call at CM’s Patiala residence

Seven farmer outfits have decided to protest against the Congress govt from September 22. They have threatened to hold a massive sit-in in front of the Patiala residence of chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh.

punjab Updated: Sep 18, 2017 20:26 IST
HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
Hindustan Times, Patiala/Sangrur
Punjab police personnel stand guard on the road leading to chief minister Amarinder Singh’s residence in Patiala on Monday.
Punjab police personnel stand guard on the road leading to chief minister Amarinder Singh’s residence in Patiala on Monday.(Bharat Bhushan/HT)

In the wake of a five-day protest call given by seven farmer unions who have threatened to hold a massive sit-in in front of the residence of Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh, the Punjab police have detained at least 160 farmer activists.

The police have been conducting raids in southern districts of Bathinda, Muktsar, Sangrur, Mansa, Moga, Barnala and Patiala, detaining activists associated with the unions.

The unions are up in arms against the Congress government’s failure to keep its election promise of waiving farm loans of debt-ridden farmers. They are also demanding minimum support price (MSP) for all crops as recommended in the Swaminathan Committee report, ownership rights of land for tenants and re-claimants, paddy straw disposal and arrangements to curb the threat stray and wild animals pose to crops.

Seven farmer outfits — Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU Ekta Ugarahan), BKU (Dakaunda), Kirti Kisan Union, Krantikari Kisan Union, BKU (Krantikari), Kisan Sangharsh Committee (Azad), and Kisan Sangharsh Committee (Pannu) — have decided to protest from September 22.

On Sunday evening, the Patiala district magistrate imposed Section 144 of the Criminal Code of Procedure (CrPC) in the district, prohibiting an assembly of more than four people in an area.

DGP in Patiala, reviews security

Punjab director general of police (DGP) Suresh Arora and DGP (law and order) Hardeep Singh Dhillon held meeting with top police officials at Patiala police line on Monday. Arora also took a round of the roads leading to the CM’s house to oversee security arrangements.

“We will not allow farmers to enter Patiala since Section 144 (CrPC) has been imposed in the district. The farmer unions have not taken any prior approval from district administration to hold any protest in the city nor have they applied for it till today. The preventive arrests of farmer activists are on,” Arora said.

BKU (Ugarahan) general secretary Sukhdev Singh Kokrikalan said the move of detaining farmer activists under Section 7/51 of the Indian Penal Code is completely undemocratic and condemnable. We are fighting for the rights of the farming fraternity and such moves cannot deter our spirits from protesting in front of the CM’s residence. The government has not moved an inch to fulfill its promise to waive off loans of debt-ridden farmers.”

Adequate security arrangements will be put in place to restrict the movement of farmers towards Patiala city, the DGP said. Additional police force, including personnel of the Punjab Armed Police (PAP), commandos companies and IRB battalions, will be deployed across the city.

89 detained in Sangrur

As many as 89 farmer union activists were detained in Sangrur district on Monday morning. They were detained from Lehragaga, Sunam, Dhuri besides with several villages of the district.

“They were arrested under preventive measures and later produced before SDMs. The farmers have been sent to jail. Most of the arrested farmers belong to Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta-Ugrahan) and BKU (Dakaunda)” said Sangrur senior superintendent of police (SSP) Mandeep Singh Sidhu.

First Published: Sep 18, 2017 20:23 IST