The Samyukta Kisan Morcha on Wednesday alleged that the Centre is “solely responsible” for the death of a 21-year-old protestor during the police action against farmers, the Hindustan Times reported.

The deceased, identified as Shubhkaran Singh from Bathinda district, died due to an injury to his head sustained during alleged firing by the Haryana Police.

“He [Shubhkaran Singh] was already dead when he was brought to the hospital at around 3 pm,” Harnam Singh, the medical superintendent at the Government Medical College and Rajendra Hospital in Patiala, told The Quint. “He suffered bullet injuries in his head.”

Jagtar Singh Bajwa, a spokesperson of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha, told The Times of India that this was a “brutal attack on the very livelihoods of farmer families who are peacefully protesting for the fulfilment of written promises by the prime minister”. “The government’s failure to implement the December 2021 agreement is solely responsible for the current crisis.”

Protesting farmers had called for a march to Delhi to seek a law guaranteeing a minimum support price for agricultural commodities and the implementation of the MS Swaminathan Commission Report’s wider recommendations on farming. However, farmers from Punjab have been stopped at the state’s border with Haryana.

The Haryana Police has fired rubber pellets and tear gas shells at the protestors. Last week, Punjab Health Minister had also alleged that three protestors lost their eyesight due to pellet injuries.

On Thursday, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha will hold its general body meeting in Chandigarh. More than 100 100 farmer union leaders, including 37 from Punjab and 14 from Haryana, are expected to participate in the meeting.

Representatives from Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Tamil Nadu will attend the meeting virtually, The Indian Express reported.

“The fresh violence at Shambhu and Khanauri [state] borders and the death of a youth will be taken up at the meeting,” Darshan Pal, the group’s national coordination committee member, told the newspaper. “We will also discuss if a judicial inquiry is needed into the matter. We condole the death of Shubhkaran Singh and appeal to all sections of the people to pay tribute to him.”

Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Wednesday also expressed grief over Shubhkaran Singh’s death and assured that legal action will be taken in the matter. Those responsible for Shubhkaran Singh’s death will face severe action, Mann said.

The Aam Aadmi Party leader also said that ambulances and Sadak Suraksha Force vehicles will be deployed on Punjab’s state borders with Haryana where farmers are protesting and attempting to move towards the national capital.

He has also asked state Health Minister Balbir Singh, Cabinet minister Dr Baljit Kaur and Congress MLA Charanjit Singh Channi, who are also doctors, to be present at Patiala, Khanauri and Rajpura that are located near the state borders to handle health emergencies.

Meanwhile, Shiromani Akali Dal chief and former Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal on Wednesday blamed Mann for allowing the Haryana Police to use excessive force against the protestors from Punjab.

“The police of another state are allowed to assault and kill Punjabis on Punjab soil, with Bhagwant Mann collaborating with Haryana against Punjab farmers,” Badal said in a social media post. “Peaceful protest being met with bullets unheard of in a democracy. The innocent blood of Shubhkaran Singh is on Bhagwant Mann’s hands.”

Congress MP Rahul Gandhi also expressed his condolences to Shubhkaran Singh’s family and blamed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for ignoring farmers’ demands.

“Last time Modi’s arrogance was satisfied only after the sacrifice of more than 700 farmers, now it has again become the enemy of their lives,” Gandhi said in a tweet. “One day history will definitely demand an account of the ‘killing of farmers’ from the BJP hiding behind the friendly media.”

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