A day after the Moga police lathicharged protesting farmers outside SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal rally venue in Moga’s new grain market and booked several, including farm union leaders, for alleged stone pelting that injured cops, farmers accused Akali workers of vandalising their vehicles with help of the police.
Farm unions held a protest march in Moga on Friday and said that a pakka morcha will be started from September 8 if the ‘false FIR’ against farmers is not cancelled.
The SKM declared that it will protest along with members of all 32 unions of Punjab outside Moga DS’s office on September 8 if the FIR filed under attempt to murder charges was not cancelled.
BKU (Ekta Ugrahan) also condemned lathicharge and demanded cancellation of the FIR. “This Moga incident has proved that there is no difference between Khattar’s BJP Govt in Haryana and Captain’s Congress government in Punjab,” said Sukhdev Singh Kokrikalan from BKU (Ekta Ugrahan).
Apart from quashing of the FIR, farmers said that they should be compensated for their loss and instead an FIR should be registered against those persons who damaged their vehicles.
At the protest march led by BKU (Krantikari) Friday at Moga’s Dana Mandi, gangster-turned-activist Lakha Sidhana, an accused in Delhi’s January 26 Red Fort violence case, also participated and addressed farmers.
The Indian Express had reported that after stone pelting and lathicharge on Thursday, Moga Police had filed an FIR against 17 farm union leaders and other activists such as Chamkaur Singh Rode (Kirti Kisan Union), Baldev Singh Zira (BKU Krantikari), Karamjit Singh (Naujawan Bharat Sabha) and others. At least 60 farmers and 7 cops were injured in the ruckus Thursday. Police claims that protesting farmers had pelted stones on cops. But according to farmers, stone pelting was allegedly started by Akali Dal and SOI (Students Organisation of India) workers. SOI is the students’ wing of Akali Dal.
In a memorandum submitted to the SSP Moga and DC, BKU (Krantikari) wrote, “As per the call given by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), farmers from our union had gathered outside Sukhbir Badal’s rally venue to question him regarding three farm laws. Without giving us any warning, police lathicharged us in which many farmers got injured.
Not only this, but the youth workers of Akali Dal, in connivance with police, also vandalided our vehicles. Though detained protesters were released later by the police, an FIR has been registered against farm leaders and other protesters for attempt to murder which is completely unjustified.”
“The violence was started by Akali Dal workers, they started pelting stones and FIR is being registered against protesting farmers under the Congress government. Instead of booking Akali Dal workers, farmers are being booked. Is this how CM Amarinder Singh proves that he is pro-farmers,” said Baldev Singh Zira, state general secretary, BKU (Krantikari), who has been named in the FIR.
Meanwhile, Kirti Kisan Union in a statement said that if Moga Police will not cancel the ‘false FIR’ by September 8, then a massive protest march will be held outside Moga DC office.
“Our union was holding peaceful protest during Sukhbir Badal’s visit and then suddenly Akali Dal workers and hooligans from its SOI wing along with police, started pelting stones on farmers and also vandalised their vehicles.
Police also lathicharged elder farmers who also got severely injured. Police also used water cannons without any provocation in which many farmers got injured,” said Nirbhay Singh Dhudike, state president, Kirti Kisan Union.
“An indefinite protest (pakka morcha) will be started outside Moga DC office by Samyukta Kisan Morcha if this false FIR is not cancelled by September 8,” said Chamkaur Singh Rode, vice president, Kirti Kisan Union, also booked in the FIR.
Moga SSP Dhruman Nimbale said that an inquiry has been marked to SP (investigation) to probe the matter and as per videography evidence. He added that names will be added or deleted from the FIR based on the probe.
“Farm union leaders who have been booked were leading the protest and violence occurred. We will check videos once again and nominate names of violent protesters as per video evidence,” said the SSP.