Police arrests leaders as thousands of farmers march towards Karnal mini-secretariat after inconclusive talks

Thousands of farmers had poured into Karnal to attend a ‘mahapanchayat’ demanding action against officials and cops involved in brutal lathi-charge on farmers which left over a dozen of them injured

Police arrests leaders as thousands of farmers march towards Karnal mini-secretariat after inconclusive talks

Bipin Bhardwaj

Thousands of farmers marched towards the mini-secretariat to gherao the building after talks between the leaders of farmers unions with the administrative officers remained inconclusive in Karnal on Tuesday afternoon.

Senior farmer leaders Yogendra Yadav, Rakesh Tikait, Gurnam Singh Chaduni and some others were arrested by the police at Namastey Chowk while they were leading the farmers towards the mini-secretariat, Karnal.

Besides barricading all the entry and exit points of the city, the state government had made elaborate security arrangements to restrict the protesters, but they made their entry without breaking the barricades. The administration has even set up three layers of barricades on the road leading to the secretariat.

The government’s arrangements proved futile in the face of the massive gathering of the farmers,.

Thousands of farmers had poured into the city to attend a ‘mahapanchayat’ on the call of Sanyukat Kisan Morcha demanding action against government officials and cops involved in the brutal lathi-charge in Karnal in which over a dozen farmers had been injured.

As the talks between the farmer leaders and the administration failed to reach any conclusion, the farmers, holding flags and raising anti-government slogans marched towards the mini-secretariat. There was a mass movement after Balbir Singh Rajewal, a farmer leader, appealed to the protesters to go ahead towards the mini-secretariat without breaking the barriers.

The farmers have full right to hold protests peacefully, said state home minister Anil Vij, adding that their movement is being monitored closely by ADGP Law and Order.

Earlier, a 11-member delegation, after holding talks, left for the grain market and held separate meetings with other famer leaders.

Farmer union leaders were firm on registration of a First Information Report against Ayush Sinha, the Sub-Divisional Magistrate at Karnal, when the lathi-charge occurred.

Senior leaders of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), including Rakesh Tikait, Balbir Singh Rajewal, Darshan Pal, Yogendra Yadav, Gurnam Singh Chaduni, and some others led the protestors into the city.

Noticing the massive gathering, the government had to further step up security to prevent the protesters from gherao the mini-secretariat. In addition to the New Grain Market, there was heavy deployment of Haryana Police, paramilitary and central forces in and around Karnal to avoid any untoward incident.

Vehicular traffic was also disrupted for hours due to the farmers' protest on the GT Road and other internal roads at Karnal.

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