More than 300 farmer suicide victim families today expressed faith in the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and marched along with Youth Akali Dal (YAD) volunteers to the Vidhan Sabha to demand justice from the Congress government for going back on its promise it waive off all farm loans as well as give one government job and Rs 10 lakh compensation to families of suicide victims.
The victim families, who arrived at the residence of former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal today morning along with framed pictures of their kith who had committed suicide after chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh failed to honour his promise to waive off complete loans of Rs 90,000 crore, related their plight to him and said they wanted to take ‘hisaab’ of the ‘vishvasghat’ done onto them.
Parkash Singh Badal assured the victim families that the SAD would fight their battle and ensure that justice was meted out to them. He also asked CM Capt Amarinder Singh to honour his commitment on complete loan waiver for farmers or quit.
He said the CM had not only back stabbed the poor, beleaguered and even bereaved farmer families, but also gone back on the oath he took on the holy Gutka Sahib.
The former CM also said it was “heartless and insensitive” of Capt Amarinder to refuse to meet farmers, teachers and employees.
“Every time the suffering people want him to listen to their grievances, the CM sends armoured police and water guns to greet them instead of coming out to at least give them a sympathetic hearing”.
Referring to Captain Amarinder’s query on what the SAD-BJP government had done for farmers, Badal said "the total amount of loan which Captain has promised to waive is less than just the amount waived off by SAD-BJP merely in the shape of free power to farmers worth Rs 6000 crore every year for 15 years.
We also took unprecedented decisions like hiking the crop loss compensation from Rs 2000 to Rs 8000 per acre .In fact, if we add all the relief measures taken by the SAD-BJP, it would total up to Rs 1.5 lakh crore during our tenures. What does the Captain government have to show in comparison?" he asked.
The farm suicide victim families marched for more than one kilometer along with SAD President Sukhbir Singh Badal and Youth General Secretary Incharge Bikram Singh Majithia before they were stopped with barricades and riot police armed with water guns.
The farm families then sat on dharna and related their plight. Suvinderpal Singh while speaking about the suicide of his father Major Singh of Ajnala said his father had even written in his suicide note that Capt Amarinder and the Congress government were responsible for his death.
Another farmer Harjeevan Singh disclosed how his brother Sukhdev Singh of Ferozepur had also named the Congress government for his suicide and that the family was in despair as the government had ignored it completely.
An old lady Jaspal Kaur of Fatehgarh Sahib disclosed that the government had not done anything for her even when both her sons and husband committed suicide. The farmers said far from any loan waiver they were still receiving recovery notices from banks.
Satnam Singh while speaking about his uncle Bachan Singh of Qadian said his uncle committed suicide in depression when he was unable to get dues for the sugarcane crop procured from him.
“These dues are still to be paid to the family”, he added. Another farmer of Malerkotla disclosed how bank officials were still harassing his family even after his nephew committed suicide.
People were moved to tears after seeing eleven year old Manmeet Singh of Ganga village in Bathinda whose father committed suicide leaving him and his nine year old sibling.
SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal while addressing the victim families at the sit-in site near the Vidhan Sabha, said now Congress president Rahul Gandhi had announced that he would implement the Punjab model in other Congress ruled States.
“It seems now the Congress party wants to cheat farms across the country like they cheated farmers of Punjab”.
Badal said the SAD would first take the plight of farmers to the State Governor and then if needed the party will launch a state-wide agitation to ensure the promises made to them were honoured.
Other leaders present in the march included Dr Daljit Singh Cheema, Charanjit Singh Brar, YAD Malwa zone one president Parambans Romana, Malwa Zone two president Satbir Khatra, Malwa zone three president Gurpreet Rajukhanna, Doaba zone president Sukhdeep Singh Sukar, Sarabjot Saabi, Winnderjit Goldy, Meetpal Dugri and Gurdeep Gosha.