Haryana farmers eyeing highway blockade to oppose farm reform bills
Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar has appealed to farmers not to block highways.Updated: Sep 20, 2020, 12:20 IST
Farmers in Haryana have set in motion their planned protest against the three farm reform bills by mobilising to block national and state highways on Sunday even as Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar made an appeal asking farmers not to block highways and invited their leaders for a talk to clear alleged misgivings on the bills, as per reports.
Farmers in Kurukshetra, Karnal, Yamunanagar and a few other districts of the state were using tractor-trailers, bikes and cars to reach protest spots with an aim to block the highways, reported agencies. NH 344 between Ambala and Roorkee had been blocked by farmers as per the latest reports.
Several farmer leaders were also using social media platforms to mobilise more farmers to join the protest.
As per the initial reports, focus of farmer unions will be in the northern districts of Yamunanagar, Kurukshetra, Ambaka, Karnal and Kaithal and the Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU)’s Haryana president Gurnam Singh Charuni will lead the agitation in Yamunanagar by blocking the NH 344, near Milk Majra toll plaza.
Charuni uploaded several video messages on social media urging farmers not to get misled by the government and join the protests.
“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 except for the Chandigarh-Delhi highway (NH 44),” Charuni told his supporters in a video message on Sunday morning.
Following instructions by the state home department, the district administrations have made heavy police deployment to ensure people do not face any problem due to the planned blockade of the highways.
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 highway, but if they will continue with the blockade we have also made arrangements to divert the traffic if required, so that commuters do not face any problem”.
Since Kurukshetra remained the hotspot for protests, where a lathi charge on farmers on September 10 had led to criticism of the police, the district police have made elaborate arrangements to avoid a repeat of the clashes.
Kurukshetra SP Astha Modi told HT that seven points have been identified in the district where the farmers are likely to hold protests and block traffic before adding that the district police have made elaborate arrangements to divert the traffic and ensure that the protests remain peaceful.
“Even, we have made a plan to divert the traffic on the NH 44 from Pipli to avoid traffic jams as there were reports of protests by a political party in Ambala,” she added.
In a statement issued late night Saturday, the chief minister said that in a democracy, everyone has a right to express views, but maintaining peace in the state is also the utmost duty of any government.
He assured that the farm ordinances are entirely in the interest of farmers and it is unfortunate to see that the opposition parties are blatantly politicizing the issue so as to achieve their vested interests by misleading the farmers.
The farmer leaders said that they did not get any invitation for talks.