The Haryana government on Wednesday appointed retired High Court judge Somnath Aggarwal to investigate the baton-charge on protesting farmers in Karnal on August 28, and the events leading up to it, The Indian Express reported.

The state government made the appointment at a Cabinet meeting headed by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar.

Ten farmers were injured on August 28 when the police had baton-charged them during a demonstration in Karnal against the Centre’s three agriculture laws. Former Karnal Sub-divisional Magistrate Ayush Sinha had ordered the police officers to “smash the heads” of the protestors if they crossed certain police barricades.

On September 11, both the farmers and the state government agreed on a month-long probe by a former judge into the baton-charge incident as well as Sinha’s role. Sinha has been sent on leave till the inquiry is completed.

The government said that it has set up the panel “in a bid to ensure fair and transparent inquiry to ascertain the sequence of events” leading to the police action at Karnal, PTI reported. The commission has been asked to submit its report within a month.

“The commission will also ascertain persons responsible for the said situation and will further inquire into the role of Sh. Ayush Sinha, Sub-divisional Magistrate, Karnal, in the action by the police on August 28, 2021,” the government said.

On September 5, farmers began a protest against the baton-charge and gathered around Karnal’s mini secretariat. Over the subsequent week, three rounds of talks between the farmers and the Haryana government were held.

On September 11, the farmers called off their agitation after the state government assured them of a probe into the incident.

Farmers protest

The protests in Karnal that took place on August 28 were a part of a series of demonstrations that have erupted across the country since last year in connection with the farm laws.

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

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