The police on Sunday allegedly lathicharged the farmers demonstrating protest against Punjab Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Ashwani Kumar’s visit to Sangrur town after the protesters broke through barricades and entered into a scuffle with cops.

Three farmers, including a woman, sustained injuries in the clash. The police claimed three of their personnel also were injured.

The farmers opposing the centre’s agriculture laws were trying to march towards the residence of district BJP chief Randeep Singh Deol where Ashwani Sharma was going to address a meeting of party workers over the upcoming local bodies elections in Punjab.

Bhartiya Kisan Union (Ekta-Ugrahan) Sangrur block president Gobinder Singh alleged that police used force against farmers and punctured their tractor-trolleys at the behest of BJP government at the Centre. “It is unfortunate that the BJP leaders come secretly and hold meetings in towns. They should know that their policies forced the farmers to come on the road. If they want to rule in the country, they should communicate with the common man,” he added.

Davinder Singh, a protester, said, “The BJP chief is holding meetings with fake farmers in an attempt to establish that the new laws are pro-farmer. We condemn lathicharge on farmers at the behest of the Punjab governor and the director general of police (DGP).”

Kirti Kisan Union district youth wing convener Jasdeep Singh alleged that the police brutally beat a farmer, Gurpreet Singh, a resident of Bahadurpur village, who was admitted to the Sangrur civil hospital.

Senior superintendent of police (SSP) Vivek Sheel Soni said the farmers held a peaceful protest but a bunch of youths tried to break the barricades with tractors which caused injuries to cops. “There was no lathicharge but only a scuffle between police and youths. Three cops and a youth named Gurpeet Singh sustained injuries in the scuffle,” he claimed.

Ashwani Sharma said, “Everyone has the right to hold a protest in a democracy. But we also have the right to hold meetings. We hope that the farmers’ concerns will be addressed in a meeting called by the central government on Monday.”

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