TMC MP urges NHRC to probe farmer's death at Punjab-Haryana border

Injustice and violence against peacefully protesting farmers is unacceptable and must be punished, says Saket Gokhale

TMC's Saket Gokhale (photo: National Herald archive)
TMC's Saket Gokhale (photo: National Herald archive)


Trinamool Congress (TMC) Rajya Sabha MP Saket Gokhale has written to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) urging it to look into the death of a 21-year-old farmer during the ongoing farmers' protests at the Punjab-Haryana border.

The farmer identified as Subhkaran Singh, a resident of Baloke village in Punjab's Bathinda district, was killed and a few others were injured following a clash between security personnel and protesting farmers at Khanauri on the Punjab-Haryana border.

"I have filed a case this morning with the NHRC seeking an urgent investigation into the death of Subhkaran Singh & into the alleged firing by Haryana Police. I've also urged the NHRC to immediately send a fact-finding team to Khanauri border in Haryana in regards to this shocking case," Gokhale said in a post on X.

"The NHRC is very active in West Bengal and routinely sends fact-finding teams suo moto. However, in this case, it is concerning that no suo moto action has been taken. Requesting NHRC to take this up urgently on a war footing," he said. "Injustice and violence against peacefully protesting farmers is unacceptable and must be punished."

In his letter, Gokhale said, "Prima facie, this seems to be a matter of extreme police brutality through alleged police firing where an unarmed protesting farmer was allegedly shot in the head and killed. The fatal injury sustained by Subhkaran Singh calls for an urgent investigation into the role of the Haryana Police.

"The fact that the Haryana Police is itself accused in this act and yet refuses to give a satisfactory explanation shows that an impartial investigation is not being conducted and there remains a great danger of the truth of the death of Subhkaran Singh being buried or covered up.

"Therefore, through this letter, the undersigned complainant seeks to file a case with the National Human Rights Commission seeking urgent intervention in this matter," he wrote, urging the agency to send notices to Haryana's DGP, assistant inspector-general of police (administration) Manisha Chaudhary, and the senior superintendent of police of Jind district.

He also urged the commission to send a fact-finding team to the Khanauri border urgently to gather the facts of the incident and recommend appropriate action against the police officials involved.

Farmers leaders on Wednesday put the 'Delhi Chalo' march on hold for two days after the farmer's death and said they would decide their next course of action on Friday evening.

Police on Wednesday fired tear gas shells at the two border points multiple times to disperse groups of protesters when they attempted to move towards the layers of barricades stalling their march to the national capital.

Patiala-based Rajindra Hospital's medical superintendent H.S. Rekhi told reporters that three people, one of them dead, were brought to the hospital from Khanauri. The deceased had an injury to his head. Farmers have said Haryana police personnel fired rubber bullets, besides tear gas shells.

Thousands of farmers remained camped at Khanauri and Shambhu on Thursday with their tractor-trolleys and trucks agitating for their demands, including a legal guarantee for a minimum support price (MSP) for crops and farm debt waivers.

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