The Haryana Police Wednesday used water cannons in Panipat and Ambala on agitating farmers and political leaders to stop them from proceeding to Delhi to protest against the Centre’s farm reform bills.
While in Panipat, the police used water cannons at a Haryana Youth Congress-led tractor rally, in Ambala, it used them on a Punjab’s Lok Insaf Party-led motorcycle rally, trying to enter the state on their way to Delhi.
While the Youth Congress activists dispersed after facing water cannons in Panipat, the LIP workers staged a sit in on the inter-state border near Shambhu village on Ambala-Ludhiana stretch due to which traffic movement was disrupted.
Earlier, Youth Congress activists riding on tractors under the leadership of Haryana state president Sachin Kundu were stopped near Samalkha bridge in Panipat where police had put up barricades. However, when some workers tried to cross the barricade, police used water cannons to disperse them. Many youth workers were later taken into preventive custody, police said, adding they were let off after a couple of hours.
IYC president Srinivas B V, who was also present in the tractor rally when it was stopped by the police, said, “This struggle will be intensified across the nation in the coming days. We will force the centre as well as the state government to bow down in front of farmers. Between 2014 and 2019, the farmer suicides figures have almost doubled”.
IYC in-charge Krishna Alavaru said the central government was playing in the hands of the capitalists.
Kundu said the entire country has decided to uproot the BJP. “Modi and Khattar-Dushyant governments have attacked the mandi system and crop procurement under a planned conspiracy. BJP wants to sell the entire farming system to a handful of favouring companies,” Kundu said.
In Ambala, the police used water cannons on a motorcycle rally of Punjab’s LIP workers, trying to enter Haryana through the inter-state border near Shambhu village in the district on their way to Delhi.
The police said it had warned the LIP workers not to cross the barricades at Shambhu village and denied permission for movement of a large group of protesters due to the restrictions over the coronavirus pandemic. A tense situation prevailed for some time as the LIP workers, led by party leaders Simarjit Singh Bains and Balwinder Singh Bains, remained adamant to move on the national highway to Delhi.
The spot where the LIP workers tried to enter Haryana lies near Ambala city on the Ambala-Rajpura-Ludhiana national highway. The police had sealed the area near the Shambhu border and had closed a stretch in view of the protest. A large number of Ambala police personnel had been deployed on the interstate to stop the protesters from entering Haryana. The agitators tried to break the barricades a number of times, but were stopped by the police.
The situation turned tense when some of the LIP workers started throwing empty bottles on the security personnel, police said. Later, some of the protesters tried to enter Haryana from under the bridge on the highway, but were scuttled.
After over three hours of protest at the site, the agitators dispersed by the evening, Deputy Superintendent of Police Ram Kumar, who was leading the force, said .
Simarjit Bains condemned the alleged dictatorial attitude of the police of not allowing his party workers to proceed further. Talking to reporters at the site, the LIP leader said every citizen had a right to express his view and move freely in a democratic set-up. “We want to raise our voice against the anti-farmer bills,” he added.
Earlier in the day, thousands of party workers with black flags took out a bike rally from Fatehgarh Sahib in Punjab as part of their protest.
The LIP had earlier announced to gherao Parliament in Delhi against the farm bills.
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