As the farm protests at Delhi’s borders cross 20 days, protesters say more than 20 people have died. The deceased, many of whom are from Punjab, died either of natural causes ostensibly aggravated by the harsh weather, or in road accidents, the protesters say. Farmer organisations at Singhu and Tikri say they are now preparing lists of these persons to help their families.
Rajinder Singh, a member of Kirti Kisan Union, said, “We haven’t received much help from the Punjab and Haryana governments. We want compensation and jobs for the families.”
The first incident was reported on November 27 when 45-year-old Dhanna Singh died in a road accident on the Delhi-Bhiwani Highway. Singh hailed from Mansa district and had mobilised farmers from 40 villages to join the protest. Police said he died after his tractor was hit by a speeding truck.
A mechanic, Janak Raj (55), who was on his way to Tikri border to help farmers in the protest, died after his car caught fire. He died at Najafgarh flyover in Jhajjar.
His son, Sahil, said, “ My father wanted to help farmers by repairing their trucks and tractors for free. He closed his shop two days before his death and left with his friends to help the farmers at Tikri.”
Several deaths have been reported from the Tikri border. On December 2, two farmers, Gurjant Singh (45) and Lakhvir Singh (55), died after falling sick at the border.
Police said Lakhvir died of a suspected heart attack. His son, Jagjit (26), said his father was part of a langar service at the border. “He was old and said he needs to leave home to help his brothers. We were hoping he would return in a month… we didn’t expect this to happen,” said Jagjit.
Farmers said women protesters have also died in the protest. The leaders and protesters are trying to make more arrangements at the borders — giving out medicines, tea and kadha, and have also set up tents for the farmers to help them deal with the winters.
At least eight farmers have died in road accidents near the borders.
Captain Amarinder Singh, the Punjab Chief Minister, also posted a tweet on Tuesday: “Saddened to learn of the demise of our five farmers. Labh Singh Ji & Gurpreet Singh of Patiala met with an accident in Karnal. Sukhdev Singh & Deep Singh of Fatehgarh Sahib near Mohali, & Makkhan Khan of Moga who died of a heart attack in Delhi.”
On the same day, 67-year-old Gurpreet Singh died at Singhu border after he complained of stomach ache. Gurpreet hailed from Punjab’s Mohali district and had been staying at the border for 11 days.
His friend, Jagbeer Johal, said they made sure Gurpreet had food and medicines in time. “We gave him blankets and made him sleep in the warmest corner of the trolley. We don’t know what happened. We called the doctor when he complained of a stomach ache but he died soon after,” said Jagbeer.