New Delhi: A group of farmers demanding compensation for crop damage allegedly held 12 government employees prisoner inside a sub-tehsil office in Muktsar district’s Lambi for many hours.
According to a source, the officials, who included a naib-tehsildar and patwaris, were liberated late Monday night after demonstrators refused to allow them to leave, news agency PTI reported.
Farmers have been requesting compensation for the damage to their cotton harvest caused by pink bollworms.
Revenue officers in the state went on strike on Tuesday in protest over the occurrence.
“Police said a group of over 100 farmers under the banner of a farm union held a protest outside the sub-tehsil in Lambi on Monday. The protesters entered the office building in the evening and held the officials’ hostage till midnight,” the police was quoted by PTI in its report.
According to Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Sandeep Kumar Malik, 12 government personnel were held captive.
According to the SSP, top police officers and the subdivisional magistrate there attempted to appease them by promising a meeting with higher officials to resolve their concerns.
“But they were adamant and the officials were held hostage until late in the night,” Malik told PTI over the phone on Tuesday.
He stated that, with the safety of those taken hostage in mind, the government instructed police to evacuate them securely.
Malik denied that police used force on farmers in order to liberate the officials.
“We freed the officials in a restrained and peaceful manner. No force was used. Before moving to free the officials, we requested them (farmers) many times that they can hold their dharna but the government officials performing their duty cannot be taken captive,” he said.
He stated that an FIR was eventually filed based on a written complaint from the officers.
According to Malik, an FIR has been filed against eight to nine people as well as some unknown individuals.
However, a farmer leader told reporters in Lambi on Tuesday that police used excessive force, injuring six to seven demonstrators.