Farmers’ Protests Entre Third Day In India’s Haryana State
NEW DELHI, Sept 10 (NNN-PTI) – The ongoing farmers’ protests outside the main government office, in the northern Indian state of Haryana, entered the third day yesterday, officials said.
The protesting farmers are on a sit-in protest outside the mini-secretariat (government building, housing major offices) in Haryana’s Karnal district, demanding action against a government official, who ordered the baton charging against farmers on Aug 28, in Haryana. The video of the official ordering police officers to “smash heads of farmers” went viral on social media.
The official has been removed from the post, as part of a reshuffle, but farmers are demanding that a murder case be filed against him.
The farmers have pitched tents and laid out mats indicating they are going to stay.
“We are going to stay here until our demands are met,” said a protester. “It is up to the government to decide whether they want another front to be opened up against them here in Haryana.”
Hundreds of policemen and paramilitary forces are stationed in Karnal.
Several meetings between local government officials and farmer leaders have not yielded any results. Meanwhile, as the standoff intensified, Haryana Home Minister, Anil Vij said yesterday that, the government will investigate “the entire Karnal episode.”
“We can’t hang anyone based on someone’s allegations. There aren’t separate penal codes for nation and farmers,” Vij told the media.
“Punishments are handed over after fully establishing one’s guilt, and for finding one’s guilt, it is necessary to initiate a probe. We are ready to order a neutral investigation, but we will not only investigate the sub-divisional magistrate, instead the whole Karnal episode will be probed. If farmers are found guilty, we will also take action against them.”
The sit-in at Karnal came on Tuesday, after farmers gathered for a mahapanchayat (congregation of major village councils) in the district. On Tuesday evening the farmers defied restrictions and climbed barricades to reach the mini-secretariat, after talks with local government officials failed.
The gathering in Karnal came days after a massive rally was staged in adjacent Uttar Pradesh, which witnessed a huge attendance of farmers.
Thousands of farmers have been on strike since Nov 26 last year, demanding the repeal of three controversial farm laws that they said will badly affect farmers. Though the federal government has been strongly defending the laws, farmers fear the new laws will weaken their position and make them dependent on corporates.
The protesting farmers are camping on the borders of the national capital, New Delhi, demanding revocation of the three laws.
The farmers have held 11 rounds of talks with the federal government. However, the negotiations remained inconclusive and no breakthrough was achieved. Both the federal government and the protesting farmers are adamant on their respective positions.