Farmer leaders met Haryana government officials today, the third time in four days, over the August 28 lathicharge that left at least 10 persons injured. The protesters were heading for Karnal where senior BJP leaders had scheduled a meeting.
The use of force against protesting farmers had sparked a furore, especially from top non-BJP leaders, including Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.
Today, senior administrative officials, including Additional Chief Secretary Devender Singh, the Karnal District Collector, and Superintendent of Police, were scheduled to meet farmer leaders like Gurnam Singh Charuni at the district secretariat.
For the past many days, the farmers had pitched tents outside the government offices in Karnal as several rounds of talks failed.
The farmer leaders had demanded the suspension of Ayush Sinha, “the murderous official being protected and promoted by Haryana government”. The IAS officer was caught on video telling cops to “break (farmers’) heads”.
He was transferred, but the government refused to suspend him.
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar further infuriated the farmers by defending Mr Sinha’s comments.
The Haryana administration had, meanwhile, imposed prohibitory orders banning large gatherings a few days ago. Besides the deployment of a large number of security personnel, the government had also suspended mobile phone internet and SMS services in several districts.
Farmer groups like the Bharatiya Kisan Union and Samyukt Kisan Morcha have been leading a massive protest nationwide for the past several months over three central agricultural laws.
While the Centre has held on to the view that these laws will be beneficial, the farmers, especially those from Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh, have refused to accept them. Multiple rounds of talks later, a deadlock has prevailed for months.