Farmers protest at Haryana CM Khattar's house; water cannons used
More than 1,000 farmers protesting against the central government's three controversial farm laws gathered outside Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar's house in Karnal on Saturday morning. They shouted slogans and waved flags, even announcing their intention to conduct an overnight vigil. Haryana has become the epicenter of the farmers' agitation that began late last year.
Police used water cannons to douse the protesters
Farmers stood atop a pile of police barricades and shouted angrily, according to visuals from the area accessed by NDTV. Haryana Police personnel also briefly doused them with water cannons. Farmers are today also protesting at grain markets across the state and outside the residences of MLAs and MPs from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) alliance.
Protest was called by SKM over paddy procurement
Meanwhile, similar protests were reported from Shahbad in Kurukshetra and Ambala City. Today's protest has been called by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) to press the government to start paddy procurement. The Centre has notably postponed the purchase of kharif or paddy crops from Punjab and Haryana till October 11, saying crop maturity has been delayed due to recent rains.
Farmers call the postponement a 'government ploy'
"Postponing procurement is a government ploy to force the farmers to sell their crop to private players at a price below the MSP (Minimum Support Price)," said Jagdeep Singh Aulakh, a member of the farmers' group BKU-Charuni.
Yesterday, farmer-police clashes were reported in Jhajjar
Just yesterday, farmers and cops had clashed in Haryana's Jhajjar district as protesters marched against an event attended by Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala. Water cannons were used to stop them but many protesters still managed to push through the barricades. Chautala was also shown black flags by the protesting farmers when he reached the event venue.
Farmers have been protesting against the laws since last year
Thousands of farmers have been protesting at Delhi's borders since November, demanding a repeal of farm laws. They say the laws will do away with MSP and leave them at the mercy of big corporates. The Centre, however, has denied the allegations, saying the laws are beneficial for farmers. Multiple rounds of talks between them have failed to end the deadlock.