Police in Haryana’s Jhajjar district on Friday used water cannons to disperse farmers who were marching towards a venue where Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala was attending an event, NDTV reported.

The farmers, protesting against the three contentious agriculture laws, showed black flags to Chautala when he reached the Government Post-Graduate Nehru College in Jhajjar.

As the farmers attempted to push through barricades and a security cordon, police used water cannons at them. Speaking to NDTV, one of the protestors said that police had arrested some of them and that they had used sewer water in the water cannons.

On Friday morning, the Jhajjar Police had made security arrangements at the venue in anticipation of a protest by the farmers. On Thursday too, the farmers had protested at a Bharatiya Janata Party meet at Karnal.

Jhajjar Deputy Commissioner of Police Shyam Lal Poonia said that he requested the farmers to protest in a democratic manner

“We are also your kids and we are on government duty,” he told the farmers, according to NDTV. “Please don’t stop us from performing our duty. The event [at Jhajjar] is by an organisation working for the society. Please register your protest without disrupting the event.”

Protest at Karnal

On Thursday, a meeting of BJP leaders Haryana’s Karnal district was halted after farmers broke through the barricades installed at the venue by the police, The Indian Express reported. The party leaders had to be escorted out of the venue by security officials.

Leader of Bharatiya Kisan Union’s Karnal unit Jagdeep Singh Aulakh said that they had requested the administration to grant them permission to protest peacefully. However, the farmers were prevented from reaching the venue with police barricading the area, he said.

The farmers removed the barricades and protested at the meeting venue for five hours.

“We will stage protests whenever they [Bharatiya Janata Party and its ally Jannayak Janata Party] hold political activities during our agitation,” Aulakh said on Thursday. “We will also boycott those who will become their partner in holding such events.”

Last month, ten farmers were injured when the police had baton-charged them during a demonstration in Karnal against the 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.

Protests against the three laws, passed in September 2020, have been going on since November.

The central 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. The farmers also 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.

In January, nearly two months into the farmer protests, the Supreme Court had suspended implementation of the farm laws.