Updated: September 11, 2021 12:21:39 pm
With farmers preparing for a ‘do or die’ battle against Karnal lathicharge episode, the police action has once again backfired for the administration with the agitation spreading fast to new areas of the state. Exactly a year ago, it was Pipli lathicharge on September 10 that had for the first time majorly galvanised support for protesting farmers. The Karnal episode seems to be having the same impact.
A farmer from village Kajibas (Yamunanagar) who is part of the Karnal morcha, Brahmpal Sharma, said: “Every lathi used to attack the farmer has doubled their anger. This agitation is not going to end till the withdrawal of three farm laws.”
Top farmer leaders will take a call on their next move in Karnal on Saturday. They have been pushing for action against former Karnal SDM Ayush Sinha who was caught on camera instructing policemen to “break heads” of protesters if they break the security cordon. The siege of Mini Secretariat completed fourth day Friday, and a large number of farmers are now expected to reach Karnal Saturday with intense mobilisation taking place in neighbouring villages.
Similar police action against protesters in neighbouring Pipli (Kurukshetra) on September 10 last year too had evoked similar response when the agitation against three farm laws had flared up for the first time in the state.
In Kurukshetra belt, farmers had actively started agitation against the new laws in July 2020 itself. But the agitation was largely limited to 3-4 districts around Kurukshetra.
The agitation drew nationwide attention when the farmers were lathicharged in Pipli when they had planned a rally to raise their voice against the contentious laws.
Farmers then had perceived it as an attempt to “supress” their voice as the prohibitory orders under Section 144 were imposed to prevent a rally by the Gurnam Singh Chaduni led BKU.
In Karnal this year, the head injuries to the farmers and their viral photos were enough to upset the farmer protesters along with Ayush Sinha’s controversial verbal orders to the policemen.
Not only this, the successive events like of imposition of Section 144 of the CrPC which prohibited assembly of five or more than five persons and suspension of Internet services ahead of the September 7 protest of farmers only prompted more farmers to join the gherao of Karnal Mini Secretariat.
In fact, the administration had insisted that the suspension of Internet services was aimed at preventing rumours and maintaining law and order but farmers believed that it may be an attempt to “hide police action against the protesters on the day of protest”.
Not only this, farmers took administration’s announcement — that the protesters will not be allowed to gherao the Mini Secretariat — as a challenge.
Probably that’s why thousands of farmers kept marching towards the Mini Secretariat on September 7 when even their leaders had agreed to court arrest. Sensing mood of the agitators especially youth, the administration — without any strong resistance – allowed them to move to the Mini Secretariat.
At the protest site in Karnal, a farmer from village Makkhand (Jind), Hawa Singh, 75, said: “The agitation has grown every day after lathicharge on farmers in Pipli and Karnal. I have just one acre of land but I want to save it from corporates. For the past eight months, I go to the Khatkar toll plaza (Jind) every day to join the protest there.”
In Hisar in May this year, police lathicharge following a clash between the agitators and security personnel had taken the agitation to almost every corner of villages in Hisar region. The confrontation had taken place when the farmers were staging a protest against Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar’s visit when he had gone to Hisar to inaugurate a Covid hospital there. The people were so angry over the lathicharge that they had even boycotted Covid lockdown in several villages of Hisar. Later, a massive protest had forced the administration to withdraw an FIR lodged against the protesters. Similarly, farmers had started camping at a police station in Tohana (Fatehabad) when the police had started raiding the residence of farmers who had staged a protest against Tohana MLA Devender Singh Babli. Farmers had lifted their dharna from the police station only after release of their comrades.
The agitators have announced to oppose every event of BJP and its ally JJP as part of their “social boycott” over three farm laws. A BKU leader Rakesh Bains said: “The BJP has miserably failed to understand growing anger among the farmers who clearly see three farm laws as an attempt to facilitate the corporates to grab their lands. In these circumstances, any police action is bound to prove counter-productive.”
A key member of Samyukta Kisan Morcha and Swaraj India leader Yogendra Yadav said: “The farmers’ agitation has now started spreading to even those areas of south Haryana where the people’s participation was minimum till now. As many as 25 farmers were detained in Rewari recently when they were protesting visit of the Chief Minister.”
In 18 out of total 22 districts of Haryana, the police have already lodged nearly 150 FIRs against several thousands of farmers during the ongoing farmer agitation.
On its part, BJP leaders have been insisting that everybody has right to protest in a democratic manner but no one has liberty to disturb activities of others. A BJP leader also stated that they can’t kept organisational activities on hold just because of an agitation by “a handful of people”.
Khattar had recently stated: “Those agitating and taking law and order in their hands are not farmers, they are politically motivated people. Haryana farmers are happily working in their fields, those are Punjab farmers who are actually sitting at Tikri and Singhu borders”.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.