Haryana Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala flew from Hisar airport to the town, a distance of about 8 kms, after farmers blocked roads on Thursday, reported The Indian Express. Chautala was in town to attend various events, including an official function at the Chaudhary Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University.

The protestors also followed Chautala for several hours in Hisar and left only after the deputy chief minister flew to the next destination from there.

The farmers, who are protesting against the three agricultural laws, had gathered at the airport before Chautala’s arrival. Around 500 farmers carried black flags and raised slogans against the deputy chief minister and the Bharatiya Janata Party-Jannayak Janata Party government on the road outside the airport, reported The Tribune.

Unidentified officials said that Chautala was stuck at the airport for at least two hours as farmers refused to let the deputy chief minister attend functions in the town. At 3 pm, Chautala boarded a helicopter from the event at the university.

Hisar Deputy Inspector General Balwan Singh Rana said Chautala took the aerial route to avoid any confrontation with the agitating farmers. Rana told The Indian Express that Chautala moved around via road amid heavy deployment of security.

Following the university event, the deputy chief minister travelled via road to a mini secretariat, where he inaugurated development projects worth Rs 39 crore. He then attended the marriage function of boxer Pinki Jangra. After this, Chautala travelled to a relative’s house as protestors showed black flags to his cavalcade.

The protestors had also gathered at Chautala’s house in Urban Estate in Gurugram. The police had installed barricades leading to his home in the morning. Unidentified officials said that the farmers broke through the blockade and raised slogans near Chautala’s house.

Vikas Sisar, a farmer leader, said the protestors broke through two barricades and burned the deputy chief minister’s effigy. The farmers stayed near his residence till 6.30 pm, he said. “As per the decision of Samyukta Kisan Morcha, we will keep opposing the functions of BJP-JJP leaders till the farmers’ agitation is going on,” Sisar added.

This is not the first time Chautala is facing the ire of protesting farmers. Earlier, they had damaged a temporary helipad in Jind district, when they came to know about Chautala’s possible visit to the area.

Meanwhile, Nishan Singh, the president of the Haryana unit of the JJP, said that government should resolve the crisis. “The government must listen to their [farmers] grievances and consider the same sympathetically,” Singh said. “The confrontation of farmers with the government doesn’t look nice.”

Farm laws

Thousands of farmers have camped outside Delhi since November, demanding that Prime Minister Narendra Modi repeal the three laws that open up the country’s agriculture markets to private companies. Farmers fear the policies will make them vulnerable to corporate exploitation and would dismantle the minimum support price regime.

The farmers have hunkered down with supplies that they say will last them for months, and have resolved to not leave until their demands are met. In January, the Supreme Court had suspended the implementation of the farm laws until further orders.

The movement poses one of the biggest challenges to Modi since he took power in 2014, as he faces criticism from all sides, including from some allies of the Bharatiya Janata Party. The Shiromani Akali Dal of Punjab quit the ruling National Democratic Alliance at the Centre in September itself.

Another sign of impact was the Congress’ spectacular performance in the Punjab urban body polls held in February.