Moga court acquits six farm union leaders

Giving details, Kokrikalan, said that in 2015, whitefly infestation had caused widespread damage to cotton crop in Punjab in 2015, due to spurious pesticides which were given to farmers.

A Moga court has acquitted six farm union leaders from Punjab who were booked by the railway police for protesting on railway tracks six years back.

In 2015, there was widespread damage to cotton crop in Punjab due to whitefly infestation, allegedly because of spurious pesticides given to the farmers by state agriculture department. Farmers held statewide protests demanding compensation and punishment for guilty officials and as a part of those protests, a week-long rail roko was also held by the farmers.

Farmer leaders, who have been acquitted by the court of chief judicial magistrate Preeti Sukhija, are Kirti Kisan union state president Nirbhai Singh Dhudike, district president Davinder Singh Ghali, Krantikari Kisan Union state president Shinder Singh Nathuwala and Gurdeep Singh Vairoke (also from same union) and Bhartiya Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan) general secretary Sukhdev Singh Kokrikalan and Balaur Singh Ghal Kalan, also from BKU (Ekta Ugrahan).

Giving details, Kokrikalan, said that in 2015, whitefly infestation had caused widespread damage to cotton crop in Punjab in 2015, due to spurious pesticides which were given to farmers.

“Activists from seven farm unions had held a week-long protest on railway tracks in October 2015 against state agriculture department for giving spurious pesticides, following which Moga railway police registered an FIR against us under the sections 147 of CrPC and 174 of the Railways Act. During six years of trial, two of our colleagues — Davinder Singh Ghali and Shinder Singh Nathuwala — also passed away. However, the court on Tuesday acquitted all of us,” he said.

He added that advocate Iqbal Singh Daulatpura represented farm union leaders in the case without taking any fee.

“The situation is no different even after six years. Farmers are protesting against three farm laws and pink bollworm attack on cotton crop due to mismanagement by state agriculture department. However, our fight for small and marginal farmers will continue. FIRs being registered for protests cannot stop us,” said. Kokrikalan.

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