Congress leader Rahul Gandhi talked to an injured farmer over the phone on Tuesday night, who was admitted to Government Hospital in Rajpura town of Patiala district after the farmers clashed with Haryana Police while attempting to break past barricades blocking their protest march to the national capital.
Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee president Amarinder Raja Warring, who went to meet the injured farmers in the Rajpura hospital, facilitated the conversation between the farmer and Rahul Gandhi. Amarinder Raja Warring posted a video of the interaction on Facebook and said, “Havildar Rajinder Singh, who served in the army for 17 years, talked about Rahul Gandhi. Rajinder ji explains that he knows the difference between a bullet wound and a tear gas shell attack, he is telling that it is a bullet wound. They are attacked with 12 bores.”
In the video, the farmer was seen saying, “They hit me head-on with rubber bullets; they shot rubber bullets right at my face. I almost lost my eye, but the doctor saved it.”
“Both of my hands were injured by rubber bullets. More than 100 farmers were injured. Three to four people have been seriously injured, one of whom sustained injuries to both eyes and was referred to a hospital in Chandigarh,” the farmer further explained.
“I served in the army for 17 years. These people are farmers, not terrorists. Even in Kashmir, this kind of firing would not have happened because they could have fired at legs or something,” farmer Rajinder Singh added.
Earlier in the day, Rahul Gandhi, reacted to the protest, asserting that the party, if voted to power, will give a legal guarantee of Minimum Support Price (MSP) to every farmer as per the Swaminathan Commission.
In a post on X, Rahul Gandhi said “Farmer brothers, today is a historic day! Congress has decided to give a legal guarantee of MSP to every farmer on crops as per the Swaminathan Commission. This step will change the lives of 15 crore farmer families by ensuring their prosperity. This is the first guarantee of Congress on the path of justice.”
On Tuesday, farmers from Punjab clashed with Haryana Police at two border points between the states, encountering tear gas and water cannons as they attempted to breach barricades hindering their protest march towards the national capital.
Twenty-four police personnel, including a deputy superintendent of police, sustained injuries as protesters pelted them with stones, news agency PTI reported citing officials. Farmer leaders alleged that police also used rubber bullets, resulting in over 60 protesters being injured during the altercation at the Shambhu border near Haryana’s Ambala city, the report added.
Additionally, police deployed tear gas and water cannons against protesters at the border in the Jind district of the state. Police sources indicated that nine officers were injured in the confrontation at the Data Singhwala-Khanauri border.
What are the demands from farmers?
- The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (Non-Political) and the Kisan Mazdoor Morcha are spearheading the ‘Delhi Chalo’ agitation to pressure the Centre for various demands. The protesters, led by farmer union leaders Jagjeet Singh Dallewal and Sarwan Singh Pandher, have presented 12 demands to the central government.
- These demands include the enactment of a law ensuring minimum support price (MSP) for all crops as recommended by the Swaminathan Commission report.
- Other demands include a complete debt waiver, a pension scheme for farmers and farm labourers, and scrapping the Electricity Amendment Bill 2020.
- The protesters also seek the reintroduction of the Land Acquisition Act of 2013 with provisions for farmer consent and compensation at 4 times the collector rate.
- Justice for those involved in the Lakhimpur Kheri killings is also demanded. Additionally, the farmers call for 200 days of employment per year with a daily wage of ₹700 under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005 (MGNREGA), linked with farming.
- Compensation for families of farmers who died during the 2021 protests and job opportunities for their family members are also requested.
(With inputs from agencies)