New Delhi: In an attempt to suppress the militant and organised farmers movement, protesting against the anti-people, anti-farmer policies imposed by the Modi government, youth farmer leader from Ambala, Navdeep Singh who had turned off the police’s water cannon during their march to Delhi on Wednesday (November 25) has been charged with attempt to murder.
The 26-year-old youth’s video showing what has now become an iconic moment of the protest march, had gone viral on social media soon after. The son of a farmers’ body leader, Jai Singh, Navdeep can face a maximum penalty of life imprisonment for the attempt to murder charge. He has also been charged for rioting and violation of COVID-19 guidelines.
The incident took place near grain market, Mohra village in Ambala district on National Highway 44, where the Ambala police blocked the passage with concrete blocks and barricades to stop the farmers associated with the Bharatiya Kisan Union from Ambala, Panchkulan and Yamunanagar from marching to Delhi. The farmers were marching in response to a call by the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC).
As per reports, Navdeep has been made co-accused along with BKU state president Gurnam Singh in a case registered by Parao Police Station in Ambala. The youth, who has completed his graduation from Kurukshetra University, said that it was their right to protest against the anti-people policies and added that the police blocked their peaceful march.
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"After my studies, I started doing farming with my father who is a farm leader. I never indulged in any illegal activities and got courage from the commitment of protesting farmers to climb the vehicle and turn off the tap as it was hurting them," he was quoted as saying by The Times of India.
Thousands of farmers from Punjab and Haryana, who have been agitating against the farm reforms of the Modi government met with brutal repression from the police forces in the form of tear gas, water cannons and heavy barricading on November 26 and 27 as they tried to march towards the national capital to register their voice of protest.
The police continued tear gas shelling and attacking through water cannons at the farmers on Friday too, as farmers from the bordering regions of the national capital entered the city from various entry points. The police and the Centre’s heavy handed response to the farmers movement has invited severe criticism from several quarters.
The police had deployed hundreds of officers at different entry points to the capital, parking trucks full of sand and laying barbed wire and concrete blocks to stop the farmers, some of whom threw stones and broke barricades.