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Injured Farmer, Allegedly 'Abducted' by Haryana Cops, Now Sent to PGI Chandigarh

Protesting farmer allegedly "captured" by Haryana Police from Khanauri Border has now been sent back to Chandigarh.

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Preetpal Singh, a protesting farmer who was being treated at PGIMS hospital, Rohtak, after he received injuries allegedly during police action at the Khanauri Border, has now been referred to PGI Chandigarh on Saturday, 24 February, where he was admitted around 7pm.

Punjab Chief Secretary Anurag Verma had earlier on Saturday written to his Haryana counterpart, Sanjeev Kaushal, requesting the handover of the injured farmer Pritpal, a Punjab resident hailing from Sangrur's Nawagaon, for his "free treatment by Punjab government".

Earlier, a rumour had spread that a protesting farmer was allegedly "abducted" by the Haryana Police on 21 February from the Sangrur-Jind border at Khanauri. The Haryana Police had refuted the allegations of abduction, and declared that an injured farmer, identified as Preet Singh, was admitted to Rohtak's Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences (PGIMS).

Preetpal's brother Gurjeet Singh confirmed to The Quint that he was being admitted to PGI Chandigarh around 7pm on Saturday.

"It was a difficult legal battle. But they have now allowed us to take him back to Punjab. Preetpal has now been referred to PGI Chandigarh," farmer leader Baldev Singh Sirsa told The Quint.
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Why the Transfer?

During the farmers' protest 2024, many farmers from Punjab have alleged "brutal crackdown" by the Haryana Police at the Shambhu and Khanauri borders separating the two states.

The Haryana Police and the paramilitary forces resorted to tear gas shellings, rubber bullets, pellets, and water cannons, to disperse the protesters trying to enter Haryana to head to the national capital for their 'Dilli Chalo' protest call.

The farmers have also alleged use of real bullets by the police, which the latter refuted. The death of 21-year-old Shubhkaran Singh, allegedly by "bullet injury", has also been a cause of worry.

30-year-old Preetpal Singh was allegedly "abducted" by Haryana Police on 21 February, while he was distributing 'langar' (free food) aboard a tractor-trolley at the Khanauri Border.

Talking to The Quint, his brother Gurjeet Singh claimed, "Preetpal was taken by Haryana Police from the Khanauri Border. They took him over to that side (into Haryana). They put him in gunny-bags and beat him mercilessly."

"Preetpal has received many serious injuries. The police broke his jaw, his teeth. He was put in a jute bag and beaten. His leg is fractured. His hands have been broken. He has got 8-10 stitches on his head. It looks like he was beaten by sticks. There is also an injury on his neck, which was likely caused by hitting him on the head while he was tied in the jute bag."
Gurjeet Singh, brother of injured farmer Preetpal Singh

Talking to The Quint, farmer leader Baldev Singh insisted it was necessary to move him out of Haryana.

"The Haryana Police had abducted him. They beat him and later admitted him to PGI Rohtak. He was not being looked after here. They were not operating on him, not giving him medicine on time. He wasn't even being given proper food there. We were afraid he might die if kept in Rohtak. So we approached the High Court so he may be referred to PGI Chandigarh, instead."
-Baldev Singh Sirsa, Farmer leader
  • Photo shows injury on Preetpal's neck

    (Accessed by The Quint)

Meanwhile, the Haryana Police had assured that Preetpal was getting proper treatment at PGI Rohtak. In a post on X (formerly Twitter) on 21 February, they had also denied the "fake news" of his alleged "abduction". "He is completely out of danger," the tweet added.

However, owing to the crackdown against the protesters, there were still apprehensions amongst Punjab farmers and Preetpal's family over Preetpal's treatment.

A political row had also erupted over the issue, with the Shiromani Akali Dal blaming the Bhagwant Mann-led Punjab government of not safeguarding the rights of its own residents.

In a post in Punjabi on X on February 23, SAD's Bikramjit Singh Majithia had urged Mann to bring the injured farmer, "kidnapped" by Haryana Police, back to Punjab.

It is pertinent to note that a case was also filed against Preetpal by the Haryana Police under Section 307 (attempt to murder) of the IPC.

Calling it a "sheer fraud" Majithia also advocated that the case be withdrawn.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court had on 23 February also sought the medical report of Preetpal, after his father, Davinder Singh, approached the court, seeking he be shifted to a hospital back in Punjab.

Apart from seeking a report from PGI Rohtak, the HC bench of Justice Harkesh Manuja had directed the warrant officer to release Preetpal, in case the alleged detenue was found to be in illegal detention.

The matter has been listed before the High Court for Monday, 26 February.

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