Farmers agitating outside the mini-secretariat in Haryana’s Karnal district on Wednesday said that they were going to continue with their sit-in protest after talks with state government officials failed, ANI reported.

Hundreds of farmers have been sitting on a dharna outside the government office since Tuesday evening.

The protestors are demanding action against the baton-charge by the police on August 28 on farmers heading to Karnal to stage a demonstration at a meeting of the Bharatiya Janata Party against the Centre’s contentious agriculture laws.

At least 10 protestors were injured in the baton-charge.

Former Karnal sub-divisional magistrate Ayush Sinha was caught on camera last month instructing police officers to “smash the heads” of farmers if they tried to breach a certain police barricade.

On Wednesday afternoon, farmer leaders held a meeting with officials of the Karnal district administration about their demands.

However, after the three-hour long talks, Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait said that the meeting remained inconclusive.

“Officers are not ready to suspend him [sub-divisional magistrate Sinha] and lodge a case against him,” Tikait told reporters. “The officers are getting directions from [Haryana capital] Chandigarh. So we have decided to continue our protest here.”

Sinha was transferred out of Karnal on September 1 as part of a reshuffle in the district administration.

Tikait added that farmers from Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and other states will join them at the sit-in in Karnal district. “Along with our protests in Delhi, this agitation will also continue until our demands are met,” he said.

Gurnam Singh Chaduni, the chief of Bharatiya Kisan Union (Chaduni) also said that the protesters will not move till their demands are met, PTI reported.

The agitation in Karnal started on Tuesday after umbrella body of farmers’ unions Samyukta Kisan Morcha planned to gherao the mini-secretariat to protest against police action on August 28.

Since last evening, the farmers have been sitting outside the mini-secretariat. They have set up tents and are organising langars (community meals) at the site for the protesters.

Meanwhile, the Karnal district administration extended a ban on mobile internet and SMS services in the district till Wednesday midnight. The ban was came into effect started at 12.30 am on Tuesday.

In an order, the state home department said that the services could be “misused to propagate inflammatory material and false rumours”.

On Tuesday, Karnal Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Navdeep Singh Virk had said that 40 companies of state police personnel and paramilitary forces have been deployed in the district.

Farmers protests

The protests in Karnal are a part of a series of demonstrations that have erupted across the country since last year.

They started with thousands of farmers protesting at Delhi’s border points since November 2020, seeking the withdrawal of the three farm laws passed last September.

The government has claimed the new laws are aimed at making farming more profitable, but the farmers argue that they will bring about corporate dominance of the sector. However, 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.