Farmers’ Protest: Senior Citizens’ Kin Worried Since Their Arrest
“He’s ready to sacrifice his life for farmers’ rights,” says the sister of Gurmukh Singh, a farmer and ex-army man.
Video Editor: Purnendu Pritam
The Delhi Police has arrested 122 people who participated in the farmers’ protest on 26 January. The list released by the Delhi Police shows that out of these 122, four are senior citizens. The Quint spoke to the families of three senior citizens.
80-year-old Gurmukh Singh, a small farmer and a retired army man, who hails from Shanashapuri village in Fatehgarh Sahib district in Punjab, was arrested by the Delhi Police at Burari famers’ protest ground.
He was charged with assault and disobedience to public servants and is currently in Tihar jail. Gurmukh was arrested by the police because he refused to leave the protest site, said his family members.
He has two sons, one lives in Italy and the other lives separately in a village in Punjab. Gurmukh lives with his daughter-in-law and a grandchild. Being the only male member of the house, he called his sister to stay with his family while he is away participating in the protest.
He went to Delhi for the farmers’ protest. I warned him that the crop on his 1.5 acre field could get destroyed in his absence. But he said it does not matter, let it be destroyed and that he has to go for the sake of farmers’ rights.Sukoon Kaur, Gurmukh Singh’s sister
Gurmukh’s livelihood is dependent on his army pension and 1.5 acres of farm land. He is associated with Shiromani Akali Dal (Mann) since many years. SAD (Mann) has assured that it would provide legal assistance to his family.
“We never thought that Delhi Police will arrest a senior citizen and a former army man. Ever since we got to know of his arrest, we have been in constant touch with the family and are helping them with everything they need.Harpinder Singh- Village Sarpanch
‘He Refused to Leave the Protest Venue, Chose To Get Arrested’
63-year-old Joginder Singh is a farmer from Boha village in Mansa district in Punjab. He was arrested by the Delhi Police on 28 January under the charges of assault and disobedience to a public servant. He is in Tihar jail.
He is part of the farmers’ protest in Delhi from the beginning. The Delhi Police went to Burari ground (farmers’ protest site) on 28 January and told everyone to leave the place and go back home. Some protesters managed to leave. But others, including Joginder Singh, refused to leave the site. They said they will leave only after their demands are met. As he did not leave the protest site, the police arrested him.Satgur Singh- Joginder’s brother
Joginder is a farmer and owns 8 acres of farm land in his village. Due to old age he has problems moving about.
“My grandmother, Joginder ji’s mother, we have not told her about his arrest. She asks us every day, ‘When will he come back?’ We tell her that he will come back after 15 days. If she gets to know about his arrest, then it could affect her health.”Gurjinder Kaur, Joginder’s niece
‘My Father Was Not At the Farmers’ Protest’
62-year-old Daya Kishan is a farmer from Ashodha village in Haryana’s Jhajjhar district. He was arrested on 26 January by the Delhi Police and was charged with attempt to murder, rioting and assault to public servant. He is in Tihar jail.
According to Kishan’s family, he was going to meet his sister in Najafgarh on 26 January when the tractor rally was carried out by the farmers in Delhi. His family further adds that he wasn’t part of the protest.
“We are farmers, we own land and cattle. My father was going to meet my aunt in Najafgarh in Delhi. Since the famers’ protest is going on, Delhi Police arrested him and put him behind bars in Tihar jail. Didn’t the police think of his age before arresting my father? He is 62-63 years old. They have registered a case against him and arrested him for no reason.”Satpal Singh, Daya Kishan’s son
The Khap members of Kishan’s village have assured legal assistance to the family.
I request the government to release my husband. He is an old man. Please release him as soon as possible.Omvati, Daya Kishan’s wife
Of the 122 arrested people over 110 are in Tihar jail. Considering their age, their family members are worried about their health. Some of these senior citizens might come out on bail soon but they would still have to fight a long battle in court.
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