The stand-off between Haryana Police and farmers continued for the second day in Sirsa on Wednesday as the district emerged as epicentre of the ongoing farmers’ agitation in the state. Several farmer leaders were detained by the police in the early hours after they continued their protest near Deputy CM Dushyant Chautala’s residence in Sirsa. Farmers blocked several state highways in retaliation demanding release of their leaders. Tension was rising in and around Sirsa as protesting farmers began gathering support from other districts of the state.
On Wednesday morning, Swaraj India president Yogendra Yadav and nearly 100 farmers were taken into preventive custody after a group of farmers, who were camping near Dushyant’s residence in Sirsa, were evicted by the police from the protest site. It was the same site where police fired tear gas and used water canons to disperse the agitated farmers on Tuesday. Besides Yadav, Haryana Kisan Manch chief Prahlad Singh was also taken into preventive custody.
Police said that the farmers had blocked the busy Sirsa-Barnala road and they did not have permission from the district administration to hold a dharna on the Baba Bhumman Shah Chowk, one of the busiest spots in Sirsa city.
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Along with protesting farmers, I have been detained from farmers’ protest site in Sirsa
Been taken to Police Thana Sadar, Sirsa pic.twitter.com/0T18RdDKW7
— Yogendra Yadav (@_YogendraYadav) October 7, 2020
“The district administration had only permitted farmers to hold their procession in Dussehra ground, but they took out a protest march and blocked busy roads in Sirsa causing immense inconvenience to general public. We had asked them to move to an alternate site too, but they did not agree. Thus, we had to evict them and clear the blockade,” said DSP Kuldeep Singh.
Yogendra Yadav elaborated the entire sequence of events in a series of tweets.
In a late evening tweet, Yadav said, “It has been six hours since we are sitting in the police station. Police wants to arrest seven of our state’s leaders and release the rest. Farmers have unanimously decided that either all of us should be arrested or all of us should be set free.” Earlier in the day, Yadav had tweeted, “The spark that was lit in Punjab has definitely reached Haryana. Yesterday, farmers had announced a pakka morcha asking Dushyant Chautala to choose between the ‘Kursi or Kisan’. Farmers told police that they would not indulge in violence. I was also with farmers. This morning, police broke our dharna and detained several of us. This pakka morcha will continue. I appeal Haryana’s farmers from other places too, join the protest and reach Sirsa to continue our struggle.”
He added: “The farmers’ fight will only get bigger from here. Haryana government is rattled by farmers’ questions and was thus using the brutal force to prevent dissent.”
All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), in a statement released this evening condemned police excesses on farmers in Sirsa and said, “We demand immediate release of all the arrested farmers and leaders. We also give a call for nationwide continuation of farmers movement”.
It added: “AIKSCC congratulates and felicitates the leaders of the 17-member coordination committee and farmers of Haryana for holding a massive public rally at Dussehra Ground, Sirsa on October 6. The sea of farmers gathered at the rally resolved to launch wave after wave of resistance and protest and not rest till the central government annuls the three anti-farmer laws clandestinely, illegally, unconstitutionally passed in Parliament without consulting farmers organisations. AIKSCC stands in solidarity with the farmers and all farming organisations, who had come to the rally in large numbers and also marched to Deputy CMs house seeking his resignation.”
AIKCC statement also condemned “the unleashing of brutality on the farmers through tear-gas shelling, and water cannons and forcefully removing those sitting at the dharna site and detaining the farmers at Sirsa Police station. AIKSCC demands immediate release of those detained failing which agitation will be further intensified”.
Announcing its plan of action, the AIKSCC said that it has called for a coordination meeting of farmers’ organisations at Gurdwara Rakab Ganj Sahib, Delhi at 11 am on October 11.
“The main aim of the coordination meeting is to build a larger coordination between farmers movements in India and to unitedly battle the disinformation campaign being propagated by the Centre that the anti-farmer laws will actually be good for farmers,” the AIKSCC said.
Farmers, on the other hand, have announced that their dharna will continue for the indefinite period till Dushyant and Haryana’s power minister and independent MLA Ranjit Singh resign and join the farmers’ protest against the three farm legislations.
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