A farmer from Haryana who jumped on a police water cannon to turn it off during the protest march of farmers has been charged with attempt to murder.
The image of the youth turning off the water cannon and then jumping into the crowd was shared widely on social media and he was hailed as a hero.
26-year-old Navdeep Singh climbed atop the water cannon vehicle that was showering protesting farmers on Wednesday as they braved a cold winter to lead the protest to Delhi.
Singh has now been charged with an attempt to murder which carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment, rioting, and violation of COVID-19 rules.
Singh later told the media that he had joined his father, a farm leader, in farming. He said he has never been booked for any illegal activity but was inspired by the commitment of protesting farmers to jump on the water cannon vehicle and turn it off.
He said the farmers were protesting peacefully and only wanted a passage to Delhi. He said as a citizen of the country, farmers have a right to question the government if they pass laws that harm their interest.
Police in Delhi and Haryana have come under heavy criticism for their use of force against the farmers protesting agricultural reforms initiated by the Modi government. The farmers believe that the reforms will put them at the mercy of big corporations.
On Friday, thousands of farmers gathered at a ground outside Delhi facing tear gas, water cannons, and heavy police action that has been going on for the last three days.
The farmers, who are protesting the new farm laws, have after several hours of confrontation with the police moved to a designated sport on Delhi’s border for their protest.
“Farmers are coming from Punjab, Haryana and other states to protest against farm bills. For our farmer brothers, the Delhi government has made arrangements for water and other facilities,” Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had tweeted on Friday.
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