On the day his ‘kisan mahapanchayat’ programme in Karnal had to be cancelled after protesting farmers uprooted tents and damaged the stage at the venue, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said the Centre was not likely to repeal the three farm laws. “Discussion can be held on certain points, but I do not think government is going to withdraw these laws,” he said.
On Sunday’s events, Khattar said with such behaviour, the protesters had “defamed farmers”, and he believed “Congress party and Communists have a major role to play in such incidents.”
Protest by farmers against Haryana CM @mlkhattar intensified ahead of his arrival for Mahapanchayat in Karnal today. Protesters captured stage and said they were ready to face police lathis. Event cancelled. Express video: @JasbirMalhi1 | Reporting: @SiwachSukhbir @IndianExpress pic.twitter.com/WNR5FOMzEN
— Express Punjab (@iepunjab) January 10, 2021
Earlier on Sunday, police resorted to mild lathi-charge and used teargas and water canons to stop hundreds of farmers from reaching a helipad in Kaimla village, where Khattar was scheduled to land.
Over 1,500 cops had been deployed as security for the meeting and seven checkpoints were set up ahead of the venue. Agitating farmers, however, managed to breach six checkpoints and arrive near the helipad, forcing authorities to move the landing spot for Khattar’s helicopter to a different location.
The farmers then moved to occupy the venue of Khattar’s kisan mahapanchayat, where around 2,000 farmers, most of them BJP supporters, were waiting. The protesting farmers flung chairs, tore banners and vandalised other arrangements made for the meeting.
Speaking at a press conference later, Khattar said the incident had “sent a message” to people.
“I have received many calls that it was not right. These people have defamed farmers. It can not be the behaviour of farmers. Gurnam Singh Chadhuni’s video from two days ago, where he incited people, is responsible for today’s incident. I believe that Congress party and Communists have a major role in such incidents. Through these agitations, if they think they can spread their wings, they are highly mistaken. I condemn today’s incident. I am an elected representative, it is not right that we protest against anybody,” the Chief Minister said.
Khattar said protesting against someone in this manner was different from expressing one’s views. “We have a strong democratic setup in our country. We have never stopped anybody from expressing their views. Even during Covid-19, we have made adequate arrangements for their [protesters’] safety and security. But violation of Constitutional provisions is not right,” he said.
Chadhuni later took responsibility for Sunday’s incident.
Various senior leaders of BJP and JJP have been facing protests during their public appearances for the last many days. In one of such incident, Khattar’s cavalcade was obstructed by an agitated mob of farmers in Ambala a few days ago. Earlier, Home minister Anil Vij’s cavalcade had also hit a blockade when the angry farmers shouted anti-government slogans.
After Khattar’s cavalcade was obstructed, Ambala’s then SP Rajesh Kalia was shunted out of the district.
Farmers also disrupted BJP’s programme in Barwala, Saturday resulting in immense chaos. Farmers had earlier announced that they would not allow any BJP or JJP leader to hold their scheduled public events across the state unless the three farm legislations are repealed.
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