Security beefed up as farmers
The traffic on National Highway 44, which connects Delhi to Chandigarh, will be diverted from Karnal district and internet and SMS services will be suspended from Monday midnight
The Haryana government on Monday ordered suspension of mobile internet and SMS services in Karnal district till Tuesday midnight while police tightened security arrangements and imposed section 144 in the district, a day ahead of a massive gherao planned by farmers at the mini-secretariat over the August 28 lathicharge, officials familiar with the developments said.
“As a precautionary measure, we have written to the government to suspend the internet service in the district for 24 hours as to maintain law and order situation and Section 144 has been imposed till further orders,” said the Karnal district magistrate, Nishant Yadav.
The precautionary measures and arrangements came as the Haryana Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) announced no changes in the plan after talks with Karnal deputy commissioner, seeking action against those involved in the lathicharge and relief for the injured, failed earlier in the day. Over 40 farmers were injured in the clashes last month.
The Samyukt Kisan Morcha, a platform of farm unions spearheading the protests against the farm laws since November, had threatened to lay siege to the secretariat if its demands for action were not met by September 6.
“The deputy commissioner could not give any satisfactory response on the demands raised by the morcha leaders and we will go ahead with our panchayat and gherao of the mini secretariat as per the schedule as the deadline of our ultimatum will expire this evening,” Haryana BKU chief Gurnam Singh Charuni asserted.
“The government may also prevent us from reaching the grain market but we will protest wherever we are stopped and we will cross their barricades,” he added.
According to the people cited above, at least 40 companies of additional forces, five superintendent rank officials and 25 deputy superintendent rank officials along with thousands of policemen will be deployed to oversee the law and order situation in the district.
The district administration also issued traffic advisory with planned route diversions. The traffic on National Highway-44, which connects Delhi to Chandigarh, will also be diverted, the people added.
“We are prepared to deal with any situation and nobody will be allowed to disturb law and order and gherao the mini secretariat,” Yadav said, adding that the administration is not ready to meet any of the “illegal” demands of the farmers.
Officials in the district administration said that efforts will be made to stop the movement of farmers from Punjab and Uttar Pradesh after Charuni urged protesters from the two states to arrive at the Karnal grain market at 10 am.
“We request farmers to come on tractor-trolleys and in groups, and break the barricades without causing any violence,” he said. “Let the police beat you, but don’t attack them as it may damage the andolan,” he added.
Karnal superintendent of police Ganga Ram Punia said 10 companies of central forces have also been summoned to manage the situation. A local court has also passed an order and directions have been issued to eight farmers’ leaders, asking them not to block any highway.
“The primary objective of these arrangements is to maintain public peace and order, prevent any kind of violence, facilitate the functioning of traffic and public transport systems and to safeguard the public property across the state in general, and Karnal in particular,” Haryana additional director general of police (law and order) Navdeep Singh Virk said.
Several protesters were lathicharged on August 28 while heading towards Karnal to protest against a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) meeting. On September 1, the state government transferred Karnal sub-divisional magistrate (SDM-civil) Ayush Sinha, who was caught on camera directing police to hit protesting farmers on their head if they breached the security cordon.
The farm union leaders have demanded registration of FIRs against Sinha and police officials involved in the lathicharge, a compensation of ₹25 lakh and a government job to the kin of farmer Sushil Kajal, who they claimed died due to police action, and financial assistance of ₹2 lakh each to the injured farmers besides free treatment in government hospitals.