'Centre asking questions over foreign donations'

Chandigarh: Bhartiya Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan), one of Punjab's largest farmer organisations protesting against the recent farm laws, on Sunday said it has been asked by a central agency to submit its registration details which allow it to receive foreign funds.

The BKU (Ekta-Ugrahan) president Joginder Ugrahan and its general secretary Sukhdev Singh revealed about the Union government's demand alleging that the Centre is using all tactics as their sole purpose is to defeat the ongoing agitation .

The Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) stipulates mandatory registration of any outfit receiving foreign fund.

A department under the centre has sent an email which we received through our bank's branch in Punjab. In the e-mail, it was stated that we should give registration details in respect of these donations from abroad otherwise they will be sent back, Sukhdev Singh said.

The bank manager showed me the email which has been sent by the Forex Department, he said.

Questioning the timing of the Centre's demand, Singh said, It is quite clear that the agitation against the farm laws is against the Centre and they will try to create all hurdles they can in that. They are using all tactics as their sole purpose is to defeat the agitation .

Asked how much foreign fund they have received recently, Singh said, We are yet to calculate the exact amount.

He said his outfit will be consulting a chartered accountant or an advocate to submit their reply. The IT Department first conducted raids on 'Arhtiyas' (commission agents) because they are supporting the farmers' agitation. Now, as our outfit is a big one, the Centre is targeting us, said Ugrahan.

They are asking details about NRI funds. The NRIs from Punjab help us with donations from their hard-earned money. They are supporting our agitation, what is the problem in that? Back home too, people support us, the BKU (Ekta-Ugrahan) chief asserted.

But the Centre is targeting us because their sole purpose is to defeat the stir, he alleged.

Meanwhile, farmers in Punjab and Haryana observed 'Shradhanjali Diwas' on Sunday to pay homage to their brethren who died during the ongoing agitation against the Centre's agriculture reform laws.

Farmers' bodies have claimed that over 30 farmers participating in the stir have died so far due to different reasons including heart attack and in road accidents.

The protesting farmers performed 'ardas' (prayer) in several villages in the two states in the memory of their departed brethren.

"At several places in Punjab, tributes were paid to farmers who died during this agitation," Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) (Ekta Ugrahan) general secretary Sukhdev Singh Kokrikalan said.

Farmer leaders said they will not let the "sacrifice" of farmers in this fight against the "black laws" go in vain.

At some places in Punjab, farmers owing allegiance to the BKU (Ekta Ugrahan) also took out protest marches against the BJP-led government at the Centre for not acceding to their demand for the repeal of the three farm laws.

Haryana BKU chief Gurnam Singh said prayer meetings were held at several places in the state in the memory of the farmers who died during the agitation.

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