Sukhdev Singh Guram (63) died reportedly of heart attack during a dharna near the house of BJP’s Barnala district president Yadwinder Singh Shanty. Sukhdev, a resident of Guram village and a member of BKU (Ugrahan), owned four acres of land which he used to give on annual lease. He had also retired as a senior lab assistant from a government high school.
As the dharna progressed outside Shanty’s house, Sukhdev was doing a meeting with few other protesters not far away from the spot.
“Sukhdev Singh was noting the details of a meeting in a dairy when all of a sudden he fell down from his chair. He was taken to a nearby hospital where he was declared dead. Post-mortem has not yet been conducted,” said Chamkaur Singh. district president of BKU (Ugrahan). Sukhdev’s son, Jagseer Singh Sidhu (30), is an MBA but is still not able to get a proper job, said Buta Singh Guram, a fellow villager.
“Jagseer was not settled as yet, despite his education he was not able to get a job giving good salary. He is the only child of his parents and is not married,” he added.
Sukhdev was associated with the union for the past many years and was devoted fully after getting retired from his job, added Buta Singh. He added, “His duties at dharnas in Barnala and was to go to Delhi after December 30 when the next round of trolleys was to leave for Tikri border. Our entire village is involved in the protests against farm laws, in fact it is the story of each and every village of Punjab.”
On Saturday, Punjab BJP president Ashwani Sharma had stated that dharnas were going outside the houses of 31 BJP leaders for nearly 3 months now and privacy of BJP leaders had been disturbed a lot. Protesters use foul language as well, he had alleged.
However, when Chamkaur Singh was asked about, it he said, “We organise dharnas daily. Outside Shanty’s house dharna is going on since October 16.Our stage works from noon till 4 pm when we speak on mic and later a few workers camp outside his house. We speak against farm laws, the government that framed it, the political party, in short we talk about the policy which is disturbing us and we never make any personal attack on anyone. These are baseless allegations. ”
He added, “Who wants to sit on the road, sleep on the roads. Our members are also dying…they are forcing us to sit on roads and they blame us as well. It is really strange.”
Speaking about Monday’s incident, Shanty said: “They are sitting outside our house for more than 2 months. Yes, they do speak on mic daily for hours. They have an issue with the government and they want a solution to it. Today after the death of their member, one person was getting aggressive, but the leaders stopped him in between and did not allow him to speak further.”
Sukhdev Singh Kokrikalan, general secretary of BKU (Ugrahan) said, “They are using foul language against us. They call us Khalistani terrorists, urban Naxals and now goons too. Who has given them this right to speak whatever they want against us without having an iota of proof. Now, they are levelling false allegations against us. Our stage is set for 3-4 hours outside the houses of every BJP leader where we talk about farm laws, their ill effects, attitude of the PM, government , BJP towards the laws, farmers’ etc. There is no personal attack. We will continue our dharnas outside their houses till laws are not repealed.”
Sunita Garg, state general secretary of BJP who lives in Kotkapura is also facing protests outside her house since October 1.
Kokrikalan said, “Garg called us goons and later we gheraoed her house. They need to mind their language rather than blaming us.”
Garg, however on December 25 had told The Indian Express, “Many anti-social elements in the name of farmers stage dharna outside my house and they even use foul language in their speeches. They urge others to socially boycott me as well.”
Meanwhile, farmers have publicly announced boycott of BJP leader Harjeet Singh Grewal in Dhanaula area of Barnala from where he belongs following his statements against farmers. Buta Singh said, “No one will take his land on lease for farming either from this area or from anywhere in Punjab. He can continue farming on his own. There is a complete boycott of Grewal in the area and even the Grewal community in many villages also did his boycott. We did boycott because of him being anti farmer. We are not using any names for him as BJP is using for us.”