Punjab farmer dies mysteriously during protest  

Chandigarh, Sep 24 (IANS) Punjab Police were on Thursday investigating the mysterious death of a young farmer who was sitting on a protest with other farmers against the state government in Bathinda town in Punjab, 240 km from here.

Police officials said that the farmer, Kuldip Singh, aged around 25 years, was found dead at the sit-in organised by farmers.

“We are investigating the matter. We suspect that the farmer consumed some poisonous substance last night (Wednesday),” a police official told IANS.

In the state assembly here, the opposition Congress demanded a statement on the matter from the Punjab government.

Police are awaiting the post-mortem report to know the cause of the death.

The farmers are protesting to demand compensation for crop loss, especially cotton crop, in the state.

Over 30 percent of the cotton crop in the state has been affected this season due to white-fly pest attack.

The Punjab government and its agriculture department have drawn flak for not doing enough to help farmers affected by the pest attack.

Opposition leaders have accused the Punjab agriculture department of purchasing and distributing spurious and poor quality pesticides due to which the farmers have suffered.

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