The Karnal district administration in Haryana has imposed restrictions to ban large gatherings on Tuesday in view of a farmers’ mahapanchayat, reported NDTV on Monday. Section 144 of the Criminal Code of Procedure prohibit the assembly of four or more people in an area.
The situation in the district has been tense since the police baton-charged and injured farmers during a protest against the three farm laws on August 28. The Samyukta Kisan Morcha, which is leading the farmers’ agitation, is also planning to gherao the mini-secretariat on Tuesday to protest against the police action.
The police have issued a traffic advisory for the Delhi-Chandigarh National Highway. Traffic will be diverted from Pipli in Kurukshetra and the Pepsi Bridge in Panipat. The district administration has also provided a list of alternative routes.
During the protest on August 28, Karnal Sub-Divisional Magistrate Ayush Sinha was seen in a video instructing police officers to smash the heads of farmers if they breached a barricade. Sinha was later transferred to Haryana’s Citizen Resources Information Department.
Sinha’s comments had triggered massive outrage. Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar had also criticised his choice of words, but said that “strictness had to be maintained to ensure law and order”.
The farmers were protesting against Bharatiya Janata Party leaders, including the chief minister. At least 10 farmers were injured in the baton-charge and one of them had died due to a heart attack on August 29, according to Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Gurnam Singh Chaduni.
The farmers have demanded Sinha’s resignation, compensation of Rs 25 lakh and a government job for the kin of the protestor who died, reported the Hindustan Times. They had given the Haryana government till September 6 to accept their demands.
However, the government has not accepted the demands yet.
Farm laws protest
Thousands of farmers have been protesting at Delhi’s border points since November, seeking the withdrawal of the farm laws passed last September. Nine months later, protests against the laws continue to be held in many parts of the country.
The government has claimed the new laws are aimed at making farming more profitable, but the farmers argue that the legislations will bring about corporate dominance of the sector. Farmers claim that once the prevailing authority of the state marketing boards – that provide a shield against exploitation – collapses, private entities will dictate the price of their produce.
They fear that the government plans to dismantle the minimum support price regime under the guise of reforming the agricultural sector.
In January, nearly two months into the farmer protests, the Supreme Court had suspended the implementation of the farm laws.