Karnal SDM orders cops to 'break heads' of protesting farmers
A video of Karnal Sub-Divisional Magistrate Ayush Sinha is doing the rounds on social media, where he can be heard ordering cops to "break the heads of protesting farmers." The video emerged a few hours after the Haryana Police baton-charged protesting farmers at Karnal's Gharaunda toll plaza Saturday. The farmers were protesting against Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar's meeting in the area.
What did SDM say in the video?
The video shows SDM Sinha instructing a group of police officers on how to tackle the protesters. "It is very simple and clear. Whoever comes from anywhere, that person should not go ahead of the barricade. If he goes, then break his head with a stick. No instructions or directions are needed. We will not allow any security breach to happen," Sinha said.
Farmers' body demands SDM's dismissal
The Samyukta Kisan Morcha—the umbrella body leading the farmers' protests—demanded the dismissal of SDM Sinha. The SKM also called for the blocking of highways and toll plazas across Haryana. Several highways were eventually blocked across Haryana in protest against the police excess. The affected routes were Fatehabad-Chandigarh, Gohana-Panipat, Jind-Patiala highways, Ambala-Kurukshetra, the Delhi highway near Karnal, Hisar-Chandigarh, and Kalka-Zirakpur national highways.
'If anything happens to protesting farmers, agitation will be intensified'
Demanding the release of the detained protesters, SKM's Darshan Pal said, "Despite a peaceful protest, the farmers were brutally attacked and baton-charged. Hundreds of farmers have been detained by the police." He warned the agitation will be intensified if anything happens to the protesting farmers.
Opposition slammed police for police excess
Congress and other Opposition parties slammed the Haryana Police for its action against the farmers. Condemning the incident, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said, "Yet again, the blood of farmers has been shed, bringing shame to India." Indian National Lok Dal leader Abhay Singh Chautala also strongly condemned the police excess. Swaraj India President Yogendra Yadav said the incident exposed the Haryana Police's true face.
Punjab CM slams Khattar for 'vicious attack'
Punjab CM Amarinder Singh lashed out at Haryana CM Khattar "for unleashing such a vicious assault on peacefully protesting farmers." Singh said Haryana's BJP government is "deliberately using brute force in a desperate bid to end the farmers' stir against the draconian farm laws."
Why were farmers protesting on Saturday?
Notably, farmers protesting against farm laws have been opposing public functions of the BJP-JJP government in Haryana. On Saturday, Haryana CM Khattar was supposed to attend a party meeting in Karnal. State BJP president Om Prakash Dhankar and other senior leaders were supposed to be in attendance. The farmers had gathered at the Bastara toll plaza near Karnal to protest against the meeting.
Police claims protesting farmers threw stones and attacked cops
Haryana Additional Director General of Police Navdeep Virk, however, claimed that the protesting farmers threw stones and attacked the police with sticks. He further said that four farmers and ten police personnel were injured in the Karnal incident on Saturday.
Farmers' protest on for 9 months
It has been nine months since the farmers of north India launched their protest against contentious three farm laws passed last year. Farmers are mainly demanding the repeal of the farm laws which they think will take away the minimum support price for their crops. Despite several rounds of talks between the Centre and farmer leaders, both parties have failed to reach a consensus.