Congress determined to take Khattar govt to task for brutal crackdown on farmers in Karnal

The brutal police attack on farmers protesting against farms laws at a toll collection barrier on GT Road in Karnal on Saturday left over a dozen farmers seriously injured, sparking a huge outrage

Congress determined to take Khattar govt to task for brutal crackdown on farmers in Karnal

Bipin Bhardwaj

Feeling the heat from the outrage triggered by the police attack on farmers at Karnal on Saturday, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar seems to be diverting public attention by accusing the Congress, especially former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Punjab Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh, of instigating farmers against the three farm laws enacted by the Central government.

The Congress has launched an attack on the Khattar government for the brutal lathi-charge on farmers protesting against the farms laws at a toll collection barrier on the GT Road in Karnal on Saturday, which left over a dozen farmers seriously injured and scores sustaining minor injuries.

Interestingly, the BJP’s political partner in Haryana, Jannayak Janata Party (JJP), had also condemned the police lathi-charge, with Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Singh Chautala assuring action against Karnal SDM Ayush Sinha.

Sinha was caught on camera instructing policemen to beat up protesters and not let anyone breach the security cordon without a “broken head”.

The Deputy CM had said, “I feel that he (Sinha) doesn’t fulfil the oath that an officer takes to maintain his ethical standards. The government will certainly take requisite action against him”.

Ironically, Khattar, who on Saturday had claimed that the matter will be looked into and action will be taken against all those at fault, took a U-turn on Monday. Khattar said that though Sinha used “incorrect words”, strictness had to be maintained to ensure law and order. “If any action is to be taken, the entire episode will be assessed by the administration and the DGP is also looking into it,” he said.

Khattar has alleged that in Punjab, Capt. Amarinder Singh was instigating the farmers against the three farm laws while in Haryana, Bhupinder Singh Hooda and other Congress leaders were doing the same.

He claimed that around 85 per cent of the farmers protesting at Singhu and Tikri borders in Delhi were from Punjab, while farmers in Haryana were ‘mostly satisfied’ with the Haryana Government’s policies.

Condemning the BJP-JJP government’s ‘barbaric lathi-charge’ on farmers, Congress leader and Rajya Sabha MP from Rohtak Deepender Singh Hooda has flayed Karnal sub-divisional magistrate Ayush Sinha’s instructions to the police to “break the head of the protesters” and demanded action against him.

Hooda said that the words used by an SDM-rank officer against farmers, who are protesting for their rights for the last nine months, were unacceptable and the government should take strict action against him.

On this issue, Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh Hooda was to lead a delegation of Congress leaders to submit a memorandum to the Haryana Governor on Tuesday, but the plan had to be cancelled due to certain unavoidable circumstances, his media advisor Suni Parti said.

AICC Haryana in-charge Vivek Bansal and Haryana Congress president Kumari Selja have said the issue will be taken up with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). They will demand registration of a criminal case against those who ordered and carried out the “barbaric lathi-charge”, Selja said.

She said that a delegation comprising Congress general secretary Randeep Surjewala, Congress Working Committee’s special invitee member and MP Deepender Singh Hooda, MLA and former leader of Haryana Congress Legislature Party (CLP) Kiran Choudhry, former Haryana minister Capt. Ajay Singh Yadav and Congress secretary Virendra Rathore will go the NHRC. The NHRC would also be apprised about the atrocities committed on the farmers in Haryana in the last year, she said.

Meanwhile, a Kisan Mahapanchayat at Gharaunda has also sought the registration of a case against those involved in the lathi-charge on farmers in Karnal.

BKU president Gurnam Singh Charuni also threatened to lay siege to the secretariat if their demands were not met by September 6. The farmers have passed three resolutions and served an ultimatum on the government to meet their demands, including the registration of an FIR against the SDM and policemen and Rs 25 lakh compensation and a job to the family of a farmer who died allegedly after sustaining injuries during the police action. They also demanded Rs 2 lakh each for those injured, he said.

Launching a counterattack on Khattar, Punjab Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh had slammed him for defending the ‘criminal assault’ on peacefully protesting farmers by putting the onus of their agitation on Punjab.

Capt. Amarinder Singh had reminded Khattar and his deputy Dushyant Chautala that the farmers who were protesting against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) meeting in Karnal when the police rained lathis on them belonged to Haryana and not Punjab. He was reacting to allegations by Khattar and Chautala that Punjab was behind the farmers’ agitation against the farm laws.

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