Farmers’ protest: ‘Don’t see use of tear gas, water cannon as force,’says ML Khattar, backs Haryana Police
Haryana Police earlier said they had handled the situation with great restraint ensuring law and order is maintained.
Amid severe criticism of how Haryana Police used ‘force’ on farmers as they were marching towards Delhi protesting against three recently passed farm laws, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Sunday said he doesn’t consider using tear gas and water cannon as using force.
“I don’t consider using tear gas and water cannon as using force,” he said questioning how Punjab government could allow such protests during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
After Haryana Police resorted to tear gas and water cannon amid freezing cold to disperse farmers’ gathering a verbal brawl ensued between Khattar and Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh. Singh accused the Haryana government of using “brute force” against farmers which is “totally undemocratic and unconstitutional”, he said.
Khattar, in his swipe at Singh, said he would leave politics if there will be any trouble regarding the minimum support price (MSP) because of the new farm laws. Khattar also accused Singh of being “unavailable” for talks on the farmers’ issues.
“Khattar is lying that he tried calling me earlier and I did not respond. But now, after what he has done to my farmers, I will not speak to him even if he calls me 10 times. Unless he apologises and admits that he did wrong with Punjab’s farmers, I will not forgive him,” Singh said.
Khattar also hinted at “unwanted elements” in the crowd of protesters and claimed that “card holders” in the Punjab CM’s office have been directing protesters.
While the action of police on protesters met criticism, Haryana Police had said they acted with “great restraint”.
“Many of our vehicles were damaged by farmers. We tried convincing them to stop their march. We did not use any force against the farmers. We handled the situation with great restraint ensuring law and order is maintained,” state police chief Manoj Yadava said.