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Jalandhar: Three women farmers were killed and two sustained serious injuries after a speeding truck ran over them on Jhajjar road near the protest site at the Tikri border on Thursday, October 28.
The incident took place at 6:15 am when the women were sitting on a divider, waiting for an autorickshaw to take them to Bahadurgarh railway station.
Two of the women died on the spot and the third succumbed to her injuries at the local hospital where she was taken after the incident. While the truck driver managed to flee from the spot, the Bahadurgarh City police, which is investigating the matter, has impounded the vehicle.
The deceased have been identified as Amarjit Kaur (58), Gurmail Kaur (60) and Shinder Kaur (61). Gurmail Kaur and Harjeet Kaur were the injured who were rushed to the Pandit Bhagwat Dayal Sharma Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences (PGIMS), Rohtak. All the women farmers were residents of the Khiva Dialuwala village in the Bhiki block of Punjab’s Mansa district.
Talking to The Wire, Jhajjar superintendent of police (SP) Waseem Akram said that, prima facie, the incident appears to be an accident but they will make all the facts clear soon.
“Six women farmers were sitting on the divider when a speeding truck crushed them. Two women died on the spot and the third one was rushed to the Bahadurgarh Civil Hospital but she could not be saved. The women were heading home and waiting for a train, which leaves for Punjab at around 7.45 am,” Akram said. “Though the truck driver fled, we have identified him and the search is on to nab him. We will also talk to the farmer union leaders and provide the version of the accused truck driver to them soon,” he continued.
Basant Kotha Guru, a farmer leader from the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan) who is present at Tikri Border said, “The women were heading home from the protest when the tragedy took place. It is a big loss for us as they had been coming regularly to the Tikri border for the farmers’ protest ever since the agitation against the three farm laws started.”
Shingara Singh Mann, state secretary of the BKU (Ekta Ugrahan) demanded a police probe into the case to investigate any element of foul play. Farmers have been at the receiving end of many instances of violence ever since the protest against the now-notorious farm laws began 11 months ago. “We will release a statement in this regard later in the day. But we demand that the government should provide Rs 10 lakh compensation to the victims’ families and a government job,” Mann said.
The incident has dredged up dark memories of the recent Lakhimpur Kheri incident where Ashish Mishra, son of BJP leader and Union minister of state for home affairs, Ajay Mishra, was part of a convoy which ran over protesting farmers. Eight people were killed in the incident, including four farmers and a journalist.
The Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), the umbrella body of the farmers’ unions, has been demanding justice in the case since it took place.