Situation ‘alarming’ after defiant farmers break barricades at Karnal

A violent face-off between the farmers assembled at Karnal in Haryana and the security personnel deployed to stop them has become a possibility

Officials said that the farmers will not be allowed to march to the district headquarters and that nobody will be allowed to break the law. File pic of protesting farmers in Haryana

Farmers have begun a march from a grain market in Haryana’s Karnal to gherao the city district headquarters to protest against the August 28 lathi charge in the state. According to emerging reports, the police has used water cannons after they broke barricades in an effort to enter offices.

Security personnel deployed at different parts of Karnal have been tasked by the state administration to stop them, potentially creating a setting for another violent clash, said media reports. Visuals of the march posted online, and shared by Yogendra Yadav, show a sea of farmers and other protesters carrying flags and placards as they pour through Karnal’s streets.

Haryana’s Karnal city administration has left no stone unturned to foil farmers from staging the march on Tuesday (September 7) to the district headquarters to hold an indefinite gherao outside the building.

Security has been ramped up with heavy deployment of police and paramilitary forces, drone cameras were used to maintain a vigil on the farmers and Internet services suspended. The district administration had also already imposed Section 144 of the CrPC, said media reports.

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The Samyukt Kisan Morcha, which is spearheading the farmers’ agitation against the Centre’s farm laws, had called for this mahapanchayat followed by a march to the district headquarters to push for its demand for an FIR against officials who had ordered the lathi- charge on farmers on August 28.

News18 reported that the farmers had started arriving in batches to assemble at the grain markets before heading for the gherao. Officials said that the farmers will not be stopped from assembling at grain markets but would be prevented from marching towards Mini Secretariat (district headquarters), the report added.

Also read: Satya Pal Malik ticks off BJP in Haryana over farmer protests

Meanwhile, an NDTV report said that a meeting between the official and farmers had failed and the administration had not given them permission to take out a march to the district headquarters in Karnal. Rakesh Tikait had told reporters: “No talks were possible with the government on the subject of granting permission for the march”. Eleven farmer leaders, which included Tikait and Yogendra Yadav, who had taken part in the meeting were expected to return to the grain market and decide if they should defy the law and carry on with their march and gherao plan.

However, the roads leading to the Mini Secretariat have been blocked with barricades. As many as 40 companies, including 10 of the BSF, CRPF and RAF, have been deployed in different parts of the city to assist the local administration. Also, five SP rank officials, 25 DSPs have been assigned the duty to ensure law and order.

Karnal SP Ganga Ram Punia told News18 that all security arrangements were in place and that nobody will be allowed to break the law.

After the farmers unions held a massive gathering in UP last week to send out a message to the Centre that their movement had a lot of support, the mahapanchyat at Karnal is being held largely to protest against the brutal action against the farmers near the Bastara toll plaza, when they had tried to stop a convoy carrying state BJP chief OP Dhankar.

The key demands of the farmers at Karnal are: a FIR must be filed against the then Karnal SDM Ayush Sinha, who was caught on tape allegedly telling cops to “break heads” during the lathi-charge. They also want a compensation of ₹ 25 lakh to the family and a job to the son of Sushil Kajal, a farmer from Gharunda block. He had received injuries in the lathi-charge and later died of a heart attack, said the protestors.

The farmers want a compensation of ₹ 2 lakh for the wounded as well.

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