July 21, 2021 1:07:13 am
Farmer leaders on Tuesday threatened to block national highway 9 (Dabwali-Delhi) at three places in Sirsa for two hours (9am to 11am) on Wednesday, in an effort to intensify their agitation against sedition charges that have been slapped against 100 protesting farmers.
The protesting farmers are demanding the release of five men arrested under the charges of sedition in connection with a protest held against Haryana Assembly Deputy Speaker Ranbir Singh Gangwa on July 11. A few stones were allegedly hurled at Gangwa’s car that shattered the vehicle’s rear windscreen.
The police had later booked around 100 farmers under the charge of sedition, attempt to murder and conspiracy, among several other charges. Investigators had later also proceeded to arrest five farmers after conducting raids at their homes in the early morning of July 15, resulting in widespread resentment among the protesters.
On July 17, the farmers held a massive protest in Sirsa against the police action, following it up with farmer leader Baldev Singh Sirsa starting a fast unto death to demand the release of the protesters the next day.
Meanwhile, the farmers — who have been sitting on a round-the-clock dharna in front of Sirsa’s Mini Secretariat — were invited for a talk by the administration on Tuesday. While Sirsa DC Anish Yadav and Superintendent of Police Dr Arpit Jain represented the administration, the protesters were represented by farmer leader Kulwant Singh Sandhu, Mandeep Nathwan, and Lakhvir Singh and others.
In the meeting, the administration repeated its stand that the farmers should approach the court for release of the arrested protesters and suggested that peaceful protests be held under the framework of the Constitution only. “Our talks are going on with the farmer leaders,” Jain told The Indian Express on Tuesday. “Stones were hurled at the [Deputy Speaker’s] vehicles on July 11. Had the stones hit somebody on the head, they could have died,” Jain had earlier stated.
Haryana Kisan Manch president Parhlad Singh Bharukhera, who was also part of the farmer leaders’ delegation, on Tuesday, said, “To express our resentment against the rigid attitude of the administration, we boycotted their water and tea today. Cases like under charges of sedition and attempt to murder have been lodged just to suppress our voice. Not only this, the police teams are moving about in some villages and are inquiring about the addresses of some farmers. This is just to terrorise the farmers who are participating in our agitation. But our agitation will continue till the government doesn’t repeal the three contentious farm laws.”
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