Karnal lathi-charge: Action against farmers if guilty, says Haryana minister
As the farmers' protest against the August 28 police excess intensified, Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij on Thursday assured that the "entire Karnal episode" will be investigated. Vij's statement came as the talks between farmer leaders and Karnal administration reached no conclusion, with the former sticking to their demand to dismiss officers who ordered the August 28 baton charge in Karnal. Here's more.
Talking about the probe, Vij warned the protesting farmers that action would be taken against them as well if they were found guilty. Referring to IAS officer Ayush Sinha, who courted controversy for his "crack (the farmers') heads" remark, Vij maintained that officers cannot be punished without a probe. "We will probe the entire Karnal episode...not just Ayush Sinha," he added.
Meanwhile, two rounds of talks between the farmer leaders and Karnal administration have failed to yield any result. On Wednesday, a three-hour-long meeting ended in deadlock as the administration didn't relent to the demand of farmer leaders to dismiss officials ordering the baton charge. Notably, farmers have also warned the Haryana government of a Singhu border-like situation if their demands are not met.
Reacting to the deadlock, farmer leader Rakesh Tikait said, "Yesterday, we had two-hour-long talks and today also the meeting went on for three hours...[it seems]...the government doesn't want an end to the dharna...so we've decided to open a front here by sitting on a dharna."
As talks failed, security was further tightened up in Karnal, in the likelihood of a face-off. However, farmer leaders maintained that the protest will be peaceful. "We will sit here peacefully. We don't want any confrontation. But won't relent on our demands," farmer leader Yogendra Yadav said. The dharna has not witnessed any clash with the police so far.
To recall, thousands of farmers marched to the mini-secretariat in Karnal on Tuesday in protest against police excess on protesting farmers on August 28. The farmers had initially gathered for a Mahapanchayat in Karnal. However, when their talks with the administration failed, farmers decided to march toward the mini-secretariat in the evening and gheraoed it, pressurizing the administration to accept their demands.
On August 28, the police baton-charged protesting farmers and severely injured many protesters. Thereafter, a video surfaced showing Karnal Sub-Divisional Magistrate Ayush Sinha ordering cops to "break the heads of farmers" who were protesting against CM Manohar Lal Khattar's meeting in the area. Thus, farmers' unions have been demanding a probe on the incident and the dismissal of Sinha.