Farmers call off Karnal protest as Haryana govt agrees to demands
Protesting farmers called off their stir in Karnal on Saturday after the Haryana government ordered a judicial probe into last month’s police lathicharge on demonstrators and agreed to send the IAS officer who purportedly told personnel to “break the heads” of agitators on leave, government officials and farm leaders said.
On August 28, 10 people were injured when Haryana Police lathicharged a group of protesting farmers who were trying to head to the venue of a state BJP meeting in Karnal. During the incident, a video of former Karnal Sub Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Ayush Sinha purportedly telling police personnel to “break the heads” of anyone who tried to cross the barricades went viral. On September 2, he was transferred out of Karnal and posted as additional secretary of Citizen Resources Information Department.
Following the incident, the farmers called for Sinha’s suspension and an investigation into police action. The Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) – a platform for farm unions –began an indefinite protest at the main entrance of the Karnal mini-secretariat on September 7 over the demands.
“A judicial inquiry of the incident (lathi-charge) at the Bastara toll plaza on August 28 will be conducted by a retired high court judge and the judge will submit the report in one month. During the investigation, IAS officer Ayush Sinha will remain on leave,” said additional chief secretary to Haryana government, Devender Singh in a joint conference along with farmer leaders.
The additional chief secretary also announced that government jobs would be given to two family members of a farmer, who, the protesters claimed, died after being injured during the lathicharge. The administration had earlier rejected this claim.
“The Haryana government will give jobs to two family members of deceased farmer Satish Kajal under sanctioned posts at DC rate in Karnal,” Singh announced.
The farmers held three rounds of talks with the administration over their demands during which they pressed for an FIR against Sinha.
“We had taken a legal opinion and found that judicial inquiry is a better option than the registration of FIR. And the FIR will be registered later if he was found guilty in the investigation,” said farmer leader Gurnam Singh Charuni Charuni, who also addressed the joint press conference.