Ahead of the farmers’ protest march to Delhi, Haryana Police on Tuesday took as many as 72 farmer leaders into preventive custody in multiple night raids, inviting sharp reactions from the Opposition and the farming community.
Farmer leaders said that police conducted raids between 1 am and 3 am and in some cases even scaled walls of homes to detain sleeping members of farm unions. CM Manohar Lal Khattar confirmed that “some farmer leaders” had been taken into custody by police, a move that the Congress described as “shameful”.
According to senior Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala, farmer leaders including Karam Singh Mathana, Satyawan Kathura, Kala Kanoh, Satyawan Narwal and Prahalad Singh Bharukhera were arrested from different parts of the state.
“All this shows how the government is afraid of the agitation of farmers,” said a farmer leader.
“These are preventive arrests,” Haryana DGP Manoj Yadava said Tuesday.
Police also conducted a raid at the Ratia residence of farmer leader Mandeep Nathwan in the midnight, but he was not at his residence that time.
Later, in a recorded video message Nathwan said, “The Khattar government is adopting an oppressive policy to stop farmers… Many of our leaders have been detained during raids that took place at 1 am. This agitation won’t be allowed to be suppressed. The farmers will go to Delhi in every circumstance.”
According to reports, police is also looking for Haryana Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) chief Gurnam Singh Chaduni, who is the main face of the farmers’ agitation in the state.
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