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Former SDM sent on leave, probe ordered; farmers end Karnal sit-in

The state government said that under the agreement with the farmer unions, “job at DC rate on a sanctioned post shall be given to two members of the family of" Sushil Kajal, the farmer who died following the lathicharge.

Police lathicharge protesters to break-up the stir at Bastara toll plaza, Karnal. (Express File Photo)

Bringing to an end the five-day standoff between farmers and the Karnal district administration, the Haryana government Saturday agreed to conduct a probe by a retired judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court into the August 28 police lathicharge on farmers at the Bastara toll plaza, and send former Karnal SDM Ayush Sinha on leave till completion of the inquiry.

The state government said that under the agreement with the farmer unions, “job at DC rate on a sanctioned post shall be given to two members of the family of” Sushil Kajal, the farmer who died following the lathicharge.

The farmers had been demanding Sinha’s suspension and registration of an FIR against him ever since the lathicharge. A 2018 batch IAS officer, he was caught on camera on August 28, instructing policemen to beat up protesting farmers and not to let anyone breach the security cordon without a “broken head”.

The dharna by farmers outside the Karnal mini-secretariat set off alarm bells in the government since Karnal is also the home constituency of Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar.

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Khattar and state BJP leaders were holding a meeting in Karnal on August 28 to devise the party’s strategy for the upcoming panchayat polls when police cracked down on farmers staging a protest.

The standoff ended following extensive talks between farmer unions led by Gurnam Singh Chadhuni and the government side led by Additional Chief Secretary Devender Singh. They later held a press conference to announce the agreement.

Devender Singh said: “The district administration of Karnal had been holding talks with the agitators in an amiable atmosphere continuously for the last four days, as a result of which a mutual agreement was reached between the two sides today. The farmers are like our family…There was demand from farmer organisations that the police lathicharge at Bastara toll (plaza) on August 28 be investigated, and the family of farmer Sushil Kajal be given proper compensation. Four rounds of talks were held between the Karnal district administration and farmer union leaders. Late evening Friday, an agreement was reached between the district administration and farmers.”

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“It has been agreed to conduct a detailed inquiry into the lathicharge case by a retired judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. This investigation will be completed in a month, and during this time former SDM Ayush Sinha will remain on leave. Along with this, two members of the family of the deceased farmer will be given a job within a week at DC rate on a sanctioned post,” Singh said.

Chaduni told the press: “There were several rounds of talks with administrative officers and the government subsequently accepted the demand of the farmers. The demand for an inquiry into the lathicharge case and giving jobs to the kin of the deceased farmer has been accepted. All organisations were involved in the discussions held in this regard, and everyone agreed to end the ongoing dharna in front of the Karnal mini-secretariat.”

First published on: 12-09-2021 at 03:57:41 am
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