Security at Haryana’s Karnal has been stepped up ahead of a possible clash with farmers protesting the center’s farm laws and the August 28 lathi charge by police. The farmers have called for a mahapanchayat and a march to district headquarters.
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11 peasant leaders have been called for talks with Karnal officials ahead of the planned protest march to the district headquarters, which also serves as the state’s “mini-secretariat.” They discuss permission for the march; Initially, permission was only given for the mahapanchayat.
Rakesh Tikait and Yogendra Yadav, who performed on the stage of the mahapanchayat held at the grain market of Karnal, are at the meeting. The farmers had planned that after the mahapanchayat they would march to and “indefinitely” the headquarters of the Karnal district, which also serves as the state’s “mini-secretariat.”
But district officials say they will not allow farmers to make this march and have deployed hundreds of security personnel. 40 companies, including 10 from the Central Armed Police, have been called up, and several are stationed around the grain market.
Mobile internet and texting services have been suspended in five districts, including Karnal, where large gatherings are also banned. Traffic on NH-44 has been diverted from areas running through the neighborhood. Camera-equipped drones will be used as part of security measures, PTI news agency reported.
Yesterday, Haryana Interior Minister Anil Vij called on farmers to protest peacefully, but said the state had taken precautions. “We have made all necessary arrangements,” Mr Vij was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
Farmer leader Gurnam Singh Chaduni had asked farmers to protest peacefully. “We’re holding a mahapanchayat… in a peaceful way. We have received word that the police will allow us to gather at the mandi. The following course of action will be decided on the mahapanchayat‘, he was quoted by PTI.
The Samyukt Kisan Morcha, which is leading farmers’ agitation against the center’s agricultural laws, called for today’s protests to support its demand for an FIR against officials who ordered the lathi pay on August 28.
The SKM had rejected the “ruthless” police crackdown on farmers – the lathi The attack took place near the Bastara toll booth as farmers tried to stop a convoy carrying state BJP chief OP Dhankar. Farmers have also demanded a murder case against Karnal SDM Ayush Sinha, who was caught on tape and allegedly told police to “break heads”.
Images shared on social media showed disturbing images. A video showed two police officers in riot gear arguing with a man in bloodied clothes; there is blood on his shirt and his left leg. Outraged farmers responded by blocking major roads and highways.
Congressman Rahul Gandhi lashed out at “farmers’ blood” being spilled. Even more surprising, BJP MP Varun Gandhi was also critical. Meghalaya Governor Satya Pal Malik reiterated his support for farmers and called on Prime Minister Khattar to apologize.
With input from ANI, PTIA