En route to Tikri for farm protest anniversary, 50-year-old farmer killed in accident

Police said the deceased has been identified as Baljit Singh, from Dhillwan village in Barnala, Punjab and was affiliated with the Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU), Sidhupur since over a decade.

A 50-year-old farmer died while an 80-year-old farmer was seriously injured after a speeding truck allegedly hit a trolley, which was part of a convoy headed to the Tikri border protest site to participate in the first anniversary of the farmers’ protests, on Wednesday night in Gohana, said police. The truck driver was arrested before he was released on bail, said police.

Police said farmers blocked the highway for more than two hours after the incident.

According to police, the incident took place at Mahra Chowk on the Gohana-Rohtak highway when several trolleys from Punjab that were going to the Tikri border had stopped near a dhaba for a breather.

Police said the deceased has been identified as Baljit Singh, from Dhillwan village in Barnala, Punjab and was affiliated with the Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU), Sidhupur. The injured, Balwant Singh, from Dhillwan village, Barnala, is associated with BKU Dakaunda. He was rushed to PGIMER Rohtak, where his condition is said to be stable.

A police officer, requesting anonymity, said, “As the farmer was alighting from the trolley, an overspeeding truck rammed into him and the trolley and dragged them for several metres. The victim was crushed under the truck and died on the spot while another farmer, who was seated in the trolley, sustained several injuries.”

Nikita Khattar, assistant superintendent of police (ASP), Gohana, said an FIR was registered. “The farmers had blocked the highway after the incident as they had some issues related to not being provided first aid at the nearest hospital, which was later resolved after consultation,” she said.

Bhupinder Singh, 31, an eyewitness, who was travelling with the convoy, said that they left with more than 60 trolleys on November 24 morning from Barnala in Punjab for Tikri border to celebrate the first anniversary of farmers’ protests. “We had dinner at 7 pm and at 8.45 pm, we stopped at a dhaba near Mahra chowk for tea. While some of us went inside, Baljit and Balwant were standing next to a trolley near a non-motorable road when the truck rammed into them,” said Singh.

He added that both were rushed to a private hospital for treatment. “Initially, the hospital staff did not attend to us and did not provide first aid, so we staged a protest and blocked the highway. Balwant was later referred to PGI Rohtak. He was discharged after treatment and is stable,” said Bhupinder Singh.

Bhupinder Singh said that Baljit Singh was associated with the BKU Sidhupur for more than ten years. “He used to come to Tikri several times and owned 3-4 acres of land. Since the announcement to repeal farm laws was made last week, he was very upbeat and had been looking forward to celebrating the anniversary at the borders,” he said.

An FIR was registered at Barauda police station under IPC sections 279, 337 and 304-A on Thursday early morning, said police. Police said the victim’s body was handed over to his family after the post-mortem.

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