Over 100 Punjab farmers ‘lacking’ since R-Day rally

GS Paul

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 29

More than 100 Punjab farmers who went to Delhi to take part in the Republic Day rally are ‘missing’, as per the Punjab Human Rights Organisation. In collaboration with Khalra Mission, the PHRO today announced free legal aid to the farmers booked by the Delhi Police for the Red Fort incident.

“It appears the police deliberately led the farmers to the Red Fort. A ruckus was created when the Nishan Sahib was hoisted there. This cannot be an offence. The Tricolour was not touched. Most protesters were illegally deta-ined on the spot. Since then, their whereabouts are not known,” activist Sarabjit Singh Verka said.

Hakam Singh, a lawyer with the Punjab and Haryana High Court, said at least between 80-90 youths from Punjab had not returned to their camps at Singhu and Tikri. “A group of lawyers is trying to trace them. We are in touch with the police, farm unions and hospitals,” he said.

Lawyers under the banner of Panthic Talmel Sangathan too offered legal aid to the farmers. “We are scrutinising the FIRs. Most farmers were booked under the Damage to Public Property Act, Epidemic Diseases Act and Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act,” an advocate said.

Akal Takht officiating Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh said: “Nishan Sahib is the symbol of the Sikh identity. Hoisting the flag does not constitute an offence.”

A report from Moga said 12 farmers of Tatarie Wala village in Moga district were among those missing. The village panchayat identified them as: Amritpal Singh, Gurpreet Singh, Daljinder Singh, Jagdeep Singh, Jagdish Singh, Navdeep Singh, Balvir Singh, Bhag Singh, Harjinder Singh, Ranjit Singh, Ramandeep Singh and Jaswant Singh. The panchayat appealed to the Punjab CM to secure their release.

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