The Haryana government has suspended mobile internet and messaging services in 14 more districts till 5 pm on Saturday in view of the tensions after violence at the farmers’ Republic Day tractor rally, PTI reported. It also extended the suspension of internet in three other districts.
Ambala, Yamunanagar, Kurukshetra, Karnal, Kaithal, Panipat, Hisar, Jind, Rohtak, Bhiwani, Charkhi Dadri, Fatehabad, Rewari and Sirsa were the districts where internet was suspended on Friday. The government said the decision was made “to prevent any disturbance of peace and public order”.
In Sonipat, Jhajjar and Palwal districts, internet had been suspended on Tuesday itself. The restrictions in these places will also remain in force till Saturday evening. Only voice calls will be allowed in 17 of the state’s 22 districts.
Haryana Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Rajeev Arora said in an order that misinformation on social media about the farmers’ protest was rampant across several districts of the state. “There is a likelihood of disturbance of law and order, public peace and tranquility in some districts of the state by protestors, agitators, miscreants and anti-social elements,” he said.
The government order added: “There is a clear potential of public utilities, damage to public assets and amenities and disruption of public law and order in some districts on account of misuse of internet services by way of spread of inflammatory material and false rumours.”
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The situation at farmers’ protest sites on Delhi’s borders has been tense after violence at the farmers’ Republic Day tractor rally.
At Singhu border, the centre of the farmers’ agitation, a group of around 200 people threw stones and vandalised the tents pitched by the protestors on Friday. They claimed to be local residents. A Delhi Police official was injured after a man attacked him with a sword. Forty-four people were arrested for the violence.
On Thursday, farmers protesting at Ghazipur on the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border had been given an ultimatum to vacate the site by midnight. As the farmers prepared for eviction, Bharatiya Kisan Union Spokesperson Rakesh Tikait tearfully declared that he would rather die by suicide than end the agitation. His comments drew huge groups of protestors from Uttar Pradesh and Haryana back to the site.
The farmers’ tractor rally on Republic Day turned chaotic after a section of protestors deviated from the routes agreed to with the Delhi Police. A group of protestors also stormed the Red Fort and hoisted a religious flag. One protestor was killed in the clashes.
Prominent farmer unions and leaders distanced themselves from the violence, and blamed it on certain “anti social elements”.
However, several farmer leaders, including Tikait, Swaraj India President Yogendra Yadav and Bharatiya Kisan Union’s Haryana unit President Gurnam Singh Chaduni, were named in one of the first information reports filed by the Delhi Police.