Protesting farmer dies in Bhatinda

punjab-farmer-Ralla Singh

Politics of farm loan waivers in Punjab took one more life.  A farmer, Ralla Singh (75) died while protesting near the Bathinda deputy commissioner’s office Friday. Farmers, under the banner of Bharti Kisan Unions, have been on dharna outside the office since May 24 in support of a loan waiver scheme. The deceased had been part of the protest.

According to the protesters, Ralla was rushed to hospital when he did not wake up Friday morning. Doctors at the Bathinda Civil Hospital declared that he likely died of natural causes but said that a postmortem was necessary to establish the cause of death.

In a bid to take advantage of death, the farmers’ body has declined this until the government assured them of loan waiver for Ralla Singh’s family, Rs 10 lakh compensation and a job for his next of kin.

“We will not allow a postmortem till the time our demands are not met,” said Sukhdev Singh, general secretary Bharti Kisan Union (Ugrahan). “They have been ignoring us since day one and now that one of our members died for the cause, they have decided to come to the table. We need them to accept our demands, without which Ralla Singh will not be cremated.

Ralla Singh, from Bodhra village of Mansa, was a farm labourer who had a debt of around Rs 50,000.

While, the district authorities promised Rs 5 lakh compensation, the farmer body said it would settle for nothing less that what they have demanded for Ralla Singh’s family.