To oppose the three farm sector Bills, Haryana’s farmers have announced to block all roads, including highways, across the state on Sunday.
Additional Chief Secretary (home) Vajai Vardhan has asked the officers to deal with protesters with “tact and patience”. However, he added that “they (protesters) should not be allowed to take law in their hands and prompt action be taken against those found to be indulging in loot, arson or damage to life, property or vehicles”.
Bhartiya Kisan Union’s Haryana unit president Gurnam Singh Chaduni, who is leading the stir in the state, told The Sunday Express the farmers will block roads from 12 noon to 3 pm on Sunday. “We have got good response from the farmers across the state to the stir,” claimed Chaduni, who has toured various parts of Haryana to meet the farmers sitting on dharnas at district headquarters for the past five days.
“We want the three anti-farmer farm ordinances to be withdrawn immediately and a new law be introduced to ensure assured minimum support price (MSP) of crops,” said Chaduni, raising the demand for farm loan waiver too. According to Chaduni, as many as 17 farmer bodies have joined hands to oppose “anti-farmer ordinances” in Haryana while the arhtiyas (commission agents at mandis) have also gone on indefinite strike to oppose the new laws. The ruling BJP has been terming the new laws as reforms meant for welfare of farmers claiming the current system of MSP and mandi system will continue.
Meanwhile, in view of the state wide road blockade call given by the farmers, Home Secretary Vijai Vardhan Saturday issued detailed instructions to the senior officers of police department and district administration.
The DCs and SPs have been asked to reach out to the organisers and ensure a peaceful protest. “Organisers should be advised to register their protest in a peaceful and lawful manner and desist from blocking the highways. In the eventuality of the protesters succeeding in blocking roads, traffic should be immediately diverted to alternative roads thus minimising inconvenience to the public,” Vardhan mentioned in his order.
According to the Home Secretary, all executive magistrates, police officers should remain present in the districts and they may not proceed on leave. “Joint patrolling of the highways and important roads may be conducted by the executive magistrates along with police officials from Saturday (September 19) itself so as to instil a sense of confidence amongst citizens”.
“Since September 20 is a Sunday, DCs may direct the civil surgeons that doctors and paramedical staff should remain present in full strength in all government hospitals and health centres for prompt treatment of persons in case injuries or medical distress. Private hospitals be alerted to remain in a state of preparedness. Ambulance (along with doctors/ paramedical staff be stationed on the highways with the police force wherever the congregation of protesters is anticipated,” mentioned the instructions.
Ever since the lathicharge on agitating farmers at Pipli (Kurkshetra) on September 10, the ruling BJP-JJP alliance is facing heat from the Opposition and farmer bodies. Opposition is trying to build a pressure on JJP’s Dushyant Chautala to resign from the post of Deputy Chief Minister while citing the example of Harsimrat Kaur Badal, who resigned from the Union Cabinet to protest the farm Bills even as her party Shiromani Akali Dal is an ally of NDA.
On his part, Dushyant condemned the lathicharge and also discussed the issue with Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar even as Home Minister Anil Vij claimed that no lathicharge took place, adding “there is no MLR (medico-legal report) and nobody received injuries”. Dushyant’s younger brother Digvijay Chautala had even rushed to meet an injured farmer in his village in Kurukshetra district. “Resorting to lathicharge is brutal, especially on a senior citizen as the photos being played by the media show. We don’t expect such things to take place. It has hurt the sentiments of farmers in general and we understand their pain,” Digvijay had commented.
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