The Haryana police have cracked down on protesting farmers at a toll plaza near Haryana’s Karnal, ahead of Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar’s visit to a nearby village. Cellphone footage from the spot showed police firing tear gas shells, water cannons at farmers who are trying to enter the Kemla village. The Chief Minister is scheduled to attend a farmers’ gathering at the village and speak of the benefits of the Centre’s three farm laws passed in September.
Heavy presence of police personnel has been observed at the village ahead of the meeting.
BJP-ruled Haryana had made headlines in November when it decided to stop the farmers on way to Delhi from across the state as well as those in Punjab.
For days, there have been reports and video footage of the police clashing with farmers, using batons, barricades, tear gas and water cannons.
Following the huge criticism, the Central government had decided to conduct a huge outreach programme to dispel “misconceptions” about the laws.
But over the last week, the Chief Minister’s outreach programme had run into trouble in this area as farmers hardened their stance in Delhi.
On Friday, the local protesters had clashed with the villagers and the local BJP workers, who are promoting the visit. The face-off started when the villagers didn’t allow the farmers to enter into the village to register their protest.
Today, Congress’s Randeep Surjewala tweeted: “Respected Manohar Lal ji, please stop this pretence of Kisan Mahapanchayat in Kaimla village. By playing with the sentiments of those who provide us with food, please stop meddling with the law and order situation”.
“If you want to have a conversation, have it with those who have been protesting for the last 46 days,” read another tweet from Mr Surjewala.