Union Home Minister Amit Shah has asked the Haryana government not to hold any pro-farm laws event or undertake outreach programmes until further notice, NDTV reported on Wednesday.
His advice came three days after Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar had to cancel an event in a village in Karnal district as a group of farmers opposing the Centre’s agriculture laws ransacked the venue.
“After what happened in Karnal the home minister has advised the government not to hold any pro-farm laws outreach programme,” Haryana Education Minister Kanwar Pal Gujjar said, according to NDTV. “We don’t want confrontation with farmers.”
Gujjar added that the entire state saw how the farmers behaved by disrupting the last event. On Tuesday, Shah had met Khattar and Haryana Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala to discuss the state’s law and order situation, The Tribune reported. He asked them to strengthen security measures.
Khattar had said after the meeting that the smooth conduct of Republic Day events was the government’s top priority. The farmers are planning to organise a huge tractor rally in Delhi on January 26.
On January 10, Khattar was scheduled to address the farmers at a “kisan mahapanchayat” event in Kaimla village. The police had used water cannons and tear gas to stop the protestors from going to a helipad where Khattar was supposed to land. Later, the farmers managed to reach the venue of the event and damaged the stage, chairs and posters.
The Haryana government has faced heavy crritcism for authorising the use of water cannons and tear gas on farmers, when they began their march to Delhi in November. Khattar had also claimed that his government had “inputs” on the presence of Khalistani separatists in the ongoing farmers’ agitation.
The farmers’ protest
Tens of thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, have been protesting at key entry points to Delhi for 49 days against the laws now, withstanding temperatures dropping to two to three degrees Celsius.
The farmers fear the agricultural reforms will weaken the minimum support price mechanism under which the government buys agricultural produce, will lead to the deregulation of crop-pricing, deny them fair remuneration for their produce and leave them at the mercy of corporations.
The government, on the other hand, maintains that the new laws will give farmers more options in selling their produce, lead to better pricing, and free them from unfair monopolies. The law passed in September are meant to overhaul antiquated procurement procedures and open up the market, the government has claimed.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court put a hold on the implementation of the laws until further orders and formed a committee to resolve the deadlock between the Centre and farmers’ union. However, farmers have refused to appear before the panel, saying that all the members have supported the laws in the past.