POSTED ON DECEMBER 12, 2020
While mud slinging around the robust farmers’ protests continue, the human costs have been high: organisations have already recorded 15 deaths since November 24.
As of December 10, 2020, 15 protesting farmers sacrificed their lives while decrying the three farm laws forcibly passed by the government, reported The Tribune. The death count is akin to the number of days spent by protesters at Delhi’s Singhu border.
Among the deceased, four farmers died due to accidents while 10 people died due to heart attack and one protester, Ajay Kumar died due to hypothermia – a condition caused by exposure to extreme cold. Two of them were women.
While Kumar died on December 8, Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU-Dakaunda) activist Kahan Singh died in a car accident on November 24. A large farmers’ group was covering tractor-trailers with waterproof sheets in Mehal Kalan town of Barnala district. According to BKU leader Manjit Dhaner, Singh was the “first martyr of the Delhi morcha.”
He also said that Singh’s death indicated the insensitive attitude of the Union Government and the Prime Minister who did not utter a word about the harsh cold wave the farmers are braving.
Following this incident, a series of deaths occurred from November 27 to November 30. Dhanna Singh died in an accident near Hisar after speeding his tractor and breaking barricades blocking the path to Delhi on Friday.
Gurmail Kaur from Chand Patti village near Talwandi Sabo in Bathinda district died after suffering a cardiac arrest while protesting at a toll barrier in Sangrur’s Kalajhar village on Tuesday. Similarly, Rajinder Kaur from Gangohar village died at the Mehal Kalan toll barrier due to a heart attack on December 7.
Similarly, many protesters suffered serious injuries while marching towards Delhi. BKU (Ugrahan) General Secretary Sukhdev Singh Kokri fractured his arm. Mahinder Kaur from Alorakh village in Sangrur district fractured her leg in an accident but she refused to return without seeing the protest to the end. Her photo was widely circulated on social media.
Despite the growing list of injuries and deaths, Kirti Kisan Union Rajinder Singh said farmers will not return to their villages until the government repeals the laws. Earlier, 15 protesting farmers died in Punjab by November 20.
In response to these deaths, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) that deals with the management of gurudwaras in northern India announced financial assistance of Rs 1 lakh to farmers’ families who lost a loved one during the protest. Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh announced financial assistance of Rs 5 lakh for two farmers’ families from Mansa and Moga districts.
The names of protesters who passed away during agitations are as follows:
November 24: Kahan Singh (Dhaner, Barnala)
November 27: Dhanna Singh (Chehlanwali)
November 28: Gajjan Singh (Bhangu Khatra)
November 29: Janak Raj (Dhanaula, Barnala)
November 30: Gurdev Singh (Attar Singhwala)
December 2: Gurjant Singh (Bachhoana, Mansa)
December 3: Gurbachan Singh Sibia (Bhinder Khurd, Moga), Baljinder Singh (Jhamat, Ludhiana)
December 4: Lakhvir Singh (Laleana, Bathinda)
December 7: Karnail Singh (Sherpur, Sangrur), Rajinder Kaur (Gangohar, Barnala)
December 8: Gurmail Kaur (Gharachon, Bathinda), Mewa Singh (Khote, Faridkot), Ajay Kumar (Sonepat), and Lakhvir Singh (Jharon, Sangrur)