Hry CM calls off meet after protesters vandalise venue
Farmers protesting against three central farm laws ransacked the venue of Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar’s Kisan Mahapanchayat, in Karnal’s Kaimla village on Sunday, forcing the CM to cancel his programme. The protesters also clashed with the police personnel, participants of the event and villagers.
Khattar’s Kisan Mahapanchayat was aimed to drum up support for the three contentious agriculture laws that have triggered widespread protests in North India, particulary at the borders of the national capital, where farmers have been protesting since November-end.
Ahead of the programme, the police blocked all the roads leading to the village but protesters managed to reach the venue and broke chairs, tore banners and damaged the helipad where the CM's helicopter was supposed to land. The police used water cannons and lobbed teargas shells to prevent farmers from marching towards the village.
According to eyewitnesses, a clash first broke out between the farmers and police personnel when they were marching towards the helipad.
The villagers in favour of the panchayat also tried to stop the protesters. However, the protesters outnumbered the police and the pro-Kisan panchayat organisers and ransacked the venue.
The CM returned to Chandigarh without addressing the gathering.
Karnal superintendent of police, Ganga Ram Punia said “Three farmers have been arrested under preventive measures and they will be produced in the court on Monday.” He said, so far, 71 farmers have been booked under various sections of IPC for rioting and assault on public servants.
Describing ransacking of the venue in Karnal as an act of “betrayal by the farm union leaders”, Khattar accused Bharat Kisan Union (BKU) state leader, Gurnam Singh Charuni responsible for the vandalism. Notably, on January 6, the BKU(Charuni) had threatened that they would oppose the ‘kisan mahapanchayat’ event.
“Vishwasghat kiya gaya unke dwara (This is an act of betrayal by farm union leaders). The leaders of the agitating farmer unions had assured the administration on Saturday that they will hold symbolic protest... but they did not keep the promise,” the chief minister said.
In a video message, BKU (Charuni) president, Gurnam Singh Charuni took the responsibility of the incident in Kaimla village and said, “Yes we have done this because the BJP wad holding parallel programmes to weaken our agitation. The BJP has announced to hold 700 rallies in favour of three contentious laws and we will oppose all such meetings”, he added.