Farmers Protest: Punjab and Haryana High Court orders judicial probe into young farmer’s death

The Punjab and Haryana High Court today directed a judicial investigation into the recent death of a 22-year-old farmer during the ongoing protest at the Punjab-Haryana border. 

A division bench of Acting Chief Justice Gurmeet Singh Sandhawalia and Justice Lapita Banerji directed the setting up of a committee of a retired High Court judge and two Additional Director Generals of Police (ADGP) to probe the farmer’s death. 

Punjab and Haryana governments were asked to submit names of the ADGP-rank officers by this evening. The panel led by the retired High Court judge will also have to submit a report on the incident within a month.

The young farmer from Bathinda in Punjab, was killed in February in clashes between security personnel and the farmers at the Khanauri border. The Punjab Police had lodged a Zero FIR in the matter and later transferred the matter to Haryana Police in whose jurisdiction the killing occurred.

Several farmers unions on February 13 commenced to march towards Delhi to protest for their demands including enactment of a law to guarantee a minimum support price (MSP) for crops. The farmers, who are currently camping at the borders of Punjab and Haryana, have faced stiff resistance from the Haryana Police who have used force to prevent them from marching towards the national capital.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court today passed the direction for a judicial probe into the farmer’s death during the hearing of a batch of petitions related to the farmers protest. The Court had issued notice on an application seeking judicial inquiry into the farmer’s death on February 29.

A fresh PIL was also lodged for registration of a criminal case against Haryana Police for alleged excesses against the farmers. During the proceedings today, the Punjab and Haryana High Court questioned the presence of children and women in the agitation after the Haryana government submitted photographs in this regard. 

The Punjab and Haryana High Court called it shameful that children were being used in the protests. The Court further asked the Haryana government to furnish details about the kinds of bullets being used by the Police at the protest sites.

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