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Monday, June 14, 2021

Farmers march to Hisar to protest FIRs over May 16 clash, govt agrees to withdraw cases

In Hisar, farmer leaders and officials from the administration met for over two hours to resolve the issue.

By: Express News Service | Chandigarh |
May 25, 2021 12:20:28 am
The farmers on the way to Hisar town from toll plaza on the national highway to participate in the demonstration at the commissioner office. (Express Photo)

A week-long standoff over FIRs registered against farmers over their clash with Haryana Police on May 16 got resolved Monday after thousands of farmers marched to Hisar to stage a massive protest.

In Hisar, farmer leaders and officials from the administration met for over two hours to resolve the issue.

BKU leader Gurnam Singh Chaduni, who was accompanied by farmer leader Rakesh Tikait, said: “They have sought one month’s time to complete the entire process to withdraw the FIRs.”

He claimed that the administration has agreed to get farmers’ damaged vehicles repaired too. The administration had sent an SDM-level officer to meet the farmers. “The SDM came here to take guarantee that there will be no change in the commitment,” said Chaduni.

SDM Jagdeep Singh confirmed that a “consensus” had been reached over the issue of withdrawal of cases lodged against 350 farmers, adding that “the legal process (for the same) may take 30 days”. “The details have been briefed to the farmer leaders who were in the meeting,” he said.

The SDM refused to comment on a claim made by farmer leaders that the administration will get farmers’ vehicles, which were damaged during the clash, repaired. “I can’t say anything on this right now,” he said.

Farmers have also been demanding registration of an FIR against the policemen and officers in connection with the lathicharge and stone pelting on the farmers. On this, Chaduni said, “We said that FIR should be registered against them so that improvement takes place in future (in handling stirs). On this, after discussing with the government for long, they (officers) said that if they lodge an FIR against (the policemen) then they will face difficulties in withdrawing the cases lodged against farmers in court. The administrative officers have apologised for the entire episode including lathicharge and other mistakes on their part.”

Farmers, meanwhile, gave their consent to the decisions taken between their leaders and administration by a show of hands amid slogans like “Kisan-Majdoor Ektra Jindabad”.

Violent clashes had taken place in Hisar on May 16 when the farmers had gathered in the town to stage a protest against Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, who had come to the town to inaugurate a temporary Covid hospital. Dozens of farmers, including women apart from 20 policemen, had sustained injuries in the clashes with the police alleging that attempts were made to hit policemen with tractors and stone pelting.

To oppose the alleged lathicharge, farmers had gheraoed residence of Hisar IGP on the same evening apart from announcing that they will gherao all police stations on May 17. However, the farmers had agreed to withdraw the call of gherao of all police stations after a dialogue between farmer leaders and senior officers of Hisar administration including police officers on May 16. Then the farmer leaders had claimed that “neither the farmers nor the policemen will lodge a complaint” regarding the clashes. However two days later, BKU leader Gurnam Singh Chaduni blamed the administration for betrayal over the issue of FIRs. Police officers claimed that no assurance was given over the FIRs with a senior officer maintaining that they did not contradict the statement of farmer leaders on May 16 to avoid an unrest.

On Monday, thousands of farmers moved to Hisar town after assembling at four toll plazas situated on national highways near the town. There were long queues along the highways with the farmers moving to Hisar in their tractor-trolleys and other vehicles. They started assembling at local Krantiman Park at 11 am with their plans to move to Hisar’s Mini Secretariat, where the offices of all administrative officers are situated.

The farmers had announced to gherao the office of Hisar’s divisional commissioner alleging that they were betrayed. However, acting swiftly, the administration approached the farmer leaders for a dialogue.

Farmer dies of a heart attack

A farmer Ramchander Kharab, 70, who had gone to join the farmer protest in Hisar, died reportedly because of a heart attack. His body was wrapped in the Tricolour. The administration, farmers said, has assured that a contractual job on “DC rate” will be given to a family member. Anticipating a large gathering of farmers, a large number of security personnel from state police and para-military forces were deployed in the town.

On the issue of job to a family member of the farmer, SDM Singh said, “An issue had come up for a job to a family member at DC rate as per the eligibility and an agreement has taken place on it.”

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