Ambala (Haryana), Oct 15 (PTI) Seven BKU activists have been booked on murder charges after an elderly farmer who participated in BJP’s tractor rally here in support of the new agriculture laws died, police said on Thursday.
According to police, the BJP took out the ‘tractor rally’ in Naraingarh here on Wednesday to spread awareness among farmers about the benefits of the recently enacted farm sector laws.
The rally was led by Union Minister of State and Ambala MP Rattan Lal Kataria and Kurukshetra MP Nayab Singh Saini. Local BJP leaders and some farmers also took part in the rally.
When the rally was to start in the afternoon, Bharatiya Kisan Union (Charuni) members reached the venue and started raising slogans against the central government and the agriculture laws.
A farmer of Badhagdh village, Bharat Singh, aged over 70 years, also participated in the BJP’s tractor rally, police said.
He fell unconscious and was rushed to a civil hospital where he was declared brought dead, they said.
The deceased farmer’s son, Bhupender Singh, filed a police complaint alleging that on the provocation of the BKU leaders, farmers attacked the tractor of his father after which he fell unconscious and died.
He also alleged that the road was blocked by BKU activists and it took around half-an-hour to take Bharat Singh to hospital, which otherwise was just five minutes walk from where the incident took place.
A case was registered against seven activists of BKU, including its district president Malkeet Singh, under IPC sections 302 (murder), 148 (rioting), 149 (unlawful assembly), 341 (wrongful restraint) based on the complaint by Bhupender Singh, police said.
We are conducting raids to trace them, they said.
Naraingarh Police Station in-charge Gurmail Singh said the cause of death of the elderly will be revealed after a post-mortem report.
Reacting to the incident, Haryana BJP president O P Dhankar said those involved in the “murder” of his party supporter will not be spared. He was also present at the cremation of Bharat Singh on Thursday.
The BJP leader said ruling as well as opposition parties have the right to demonstrate peacefully on any issue, “but violence is not permitted as it is against democratic norms.” Meanwhile, BKU activists along with the Congress and INLD leaders on Thursday submitted a memorandum to Ambala SP Rajesh Kalia, saying a “false” case was registered against the BKU leaders.
Haryana BKU chief Gurnam Singh Charuni strongly condemned the registration of a case and slapping murder charge against the seven activists of the outfit.
“We are also sad at Bharat Singh's demise. We offer our condolences on his demise. But the BJP is stooping low and they have filed murder case against our activists. They alleged that Bharat Singh was pushed and beaten, charges which are baseless.
“He died of heart attack and we have learnt that earlier too, he had suffered three heart attacks. He was 75-years-old and the BJP should not have got elderly people to be part of their rally. It is unfortunate that the BJP wants to derive political benefit even from the death of its supporter,” he said.
Charuni said if the cases against their activists were not taken back, “we will be forced to take any big step, for which the government will be responsible”.
Several political parties and farmer organisations have been protesting against the new farm legislations, claiming that these will harm the interests of farmers and only benefit corporates.
The three farm bills -- the Farmer's Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020; the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020; and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020 -- were passed by the Parliament recently. Subsequently, President Ram Nath Kovind gave his assent to the bills.
The Centre has asserted that these new laws will be beneficial for farmers and increase their income.