Haryana farmers gear up to block highways amid heavy police deployment
Farmers have started gathering at designated spots following a call to block national and state highways on Sunday to protest against three ordinances of the Union government they label as ‘anti farmer’.
Most of the protesters are arriving at the venues on tractor trailers, motorcycles and cars ahead of the schedule beginning at 12 noon and likely to continue up to 3pm.
Farmer leaders earlier marshalled protesters, asking them to assemble at the venues in large numbers.
According to initial reports, farmer unions will focus on the northern districts of Yamunanagar, Kurukshetra, Ambala, Karnal and Kaithal with Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) president Gurnam Singh Charuni leading the agitation in Yamunanagar by blocking the NH344, near the Milk Majra toll plaza.
Charuni has uploaded several video messages on social media urging farmers not to get misled by the government and join the protest.
Fake news being spread: Charuni
“News is being spread that the national highways will not be blocked. This news is fake and I appeal to the farmers to block all national and state highways, besides Chandigarh-Delhi (NH-44),” Charuni told his supporters in a video message on Sunday morning.
However, according to reports received, farmers will not block NH44.
Following instructions by the state home department the district administrations has also ensured heavy police deployment to allow traffic to move smoothly on highways.
Arrangements made to divert traffic
Talking to Hindustan Times, Yamunanagar superintendent of police Kamaldeep Goyal said, “Our priority will be to convince the farmers and we will request them not to block the highways, but if they do so then we have made arrangements to divert traffic so that commuters do not face problems.”
Even as Kurukshetra remained a hot-spot for the farmers, the Haryana government faced flak for a lathicharge on protesters on September 10.
Arrangements have been made this time round to ensure such incidents are not repeated, sources have said.
Kurukshetra SP Astha Modi said seven points had been identified in the district where farmers were likely to hold protests and block traffic, but the district police had made elaborate arrangements to divert traffic and ensure that the agitation remained peaceful.
“We have also planed to divert traffic on NH44 from Pipli to avoid traffic jams as there were reports of protests by a political party in Ambala,” Modi added.
Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar, meanwhile, appealed to farmers to not block the highways. He also invited farmer leaders for talks.
In a statement issued late on Saturday night, Khattar said everyone had the right to express views, but maintaining peace in the state was also the prime duty of any government.
He said the farm ordinances were entirely in the interest of farmers and it was unfortunate to see the opposition parties blatantly politicising the issue to achieve their vested interests.
Farmer leaders, however, said they were not invited for talks.