Punjab Police registers ‘Zero FIR’ under Section 302; Farmer Shubhkaran cremated

| | Chandigarh
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Punjab Police registers ‘Zero FIR’ under Section 302; Farmer Shubhkaran cremated

Friday, 01 March 2024 | Monika Malik | Chandigarh

Eight days after the tragic demise of 22-year-old farmer Shubhkaran Singh, allegedly at the hands of the Haryana Police during the Delhi Chalo march, the Punjab Police registered a zero FIR on late Wednesday evening against unidentified individuals on the charges of murder night on the statement of the deceased’s father, Charanjit Singh.


The FIR, lodged under sections 302 (murder) and 114 (abettor present when offence is committed) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), was filed at Patran police station in Patiala — marking the initiation of legal proceedings in response to the fatal incident.


Shubhkaran, a resident of Bathinda’s Ballo village, fell victim to a clash between protesting farmers and the Haryana Police at the Punjab-Haryana border near Khanauri on February 21. Amidst conflicting claims regarding the jurisdiction of the case, the Punjab Police opted for a zero FIR — a legal mechanism allowing the immediate lodging of a complaint irrespective of jurisdictional constraints.


This crucial step paved way for a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding Shubhkaran's untimely demise — a condition put forth by the protesting farmers and his family members for conducting the post-mortem and performing the last rites.


In the wake of the registration of the zero FIR, a postmortem examination was conducted on Shubhkaran's body at the Government Medical College in Patiala. His mortal remains had been kept in the mortuary since the day of the incident, awaiting legal proceedings and closure for his grieving family.


Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, interacting with the media on Thursday, said that the decision to file the zero FIR was made based on counsel from legal professionals. He emphasized that a thorough investigation would ensue to determine the exact location of the incident and identify those accountable for Shubhkaran’s tragic demise. Additionally, he noted that insights from the postmortem report would shed light on the circumstances surrounding the cause of death.


Punjab Inspector General of Police (IGP), Headquarters, Sukhchain Singh Gill on Thursday emphasized the state's commitment to upholding the rule of law and ensuring accountability for the tragic loss.


IGP Gill, in a video message, said that the zero FIR had been registered on the advice of legal experts and further investigation in the case would be carried out as per law.


He also added that Shubhkaran’s family, as per the Chief Minister’s announcement, would be given Rs one crore as compensation. “As requested by the family, Shubhkaran’s sister would be given a job as a constable in the Punjab Police,” he added.


Notably, Haryana Police has all along been claiming that Shubhkaran had died within the borders of the state and action can only be taken by them — apparently a reason causing delay.


As per the details outlined in the FIR, Shubhkaran’s father informed that his son participated in a protest alongside fellow farmers at the Khanauri border. The FIR highlighted that Shubhkaran, among others, found themselves in a gathering on a road blockaded by the Haryana Police, who allegedly deployed tear-gas shells and bullets toward the protesters.


Subsequently, upon instructions from farmer leaders, Shubhkaran and his peers relocated to the fields surrounding the border, where the purported firing by the police persisted.


The FIR further narrated that the farmers were urged by their leaders to return to their parked tractors and trolleys approximately two kilometers away from the barricades.


Tragically, as Shubhkaran began to retreat, he was struck by a bullet, collapsing on the spot. Witnesses promptly rushed him to a hospital in Khanauri, where he was declared deceased. Additionally, the FIR indicated that the allegations therein extend beyond the jurisdiction of the police station where it was lodged, consequently necessitating the involvement of the Garhi police station in Jind, Haryana. Column 13 (4) of the FIR elucidated that the complaint has been forwarded to the Garhi police station to address the issue of jurisdiction.


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