Farmers agitating against the Centre’s new agriculture laws on Sunday staged protests at events attended by Bharatiya Janata Party leaders in several districts of Haryana, reported PTI.
In Sirsa district, Haryana Assembly Deputy Speaker Ranbir Singh Gangwa was cornered and roads were blocked in five areas as protestors demanded the release of four detained farmers, reported The Indian Express. After the four were released on Sunday night, the blockades were cleared.
The BJP has been trying to hold organisational programmes in Haryana after temporarily pausing them in view of the farmers’ protest. As part of their agitation, farmers’ outfits had announced a “social boycott” of the saffron party’s politicians.
The BJP has alleged that the protests against the farm laws have been fuelled by the Opposition, and only a few farmers are supporting the agitation.
On Sunday, Sirsa district BJP president Aditya Devi Lal alleged that a few protesters had pelted stones at Gangwa’s car. “They were not farmers but anti-social elements,” he claimed. “This is not the right way of protest. The police administration should take action against such persons.”
In Fatehabad, the protesters marched to an event of the BJP, attended by Haryana Cooperation Minister Banwari Lal and Sirsa MP Sunita Duggal. The farmers had earlier said they would not allow leaders from the BJP and the Jannayak Janata Party to address any programme in the district, reported NDTV.
Heavy police deployment was made to control the protests and the main venue of the demonstrations was barricaded. The police, however, said that as the protesting farmers reached close to the venue, they shouted slogans and removed the barricades.
Another protest was held in Jhajjar district where state BJP chief OP Dhankar was supposed to attend a function. Protestors carrying black flags said they would not allow the BJP or the JJP to hold events unless the farm laws were repealed.
In Ambala district, protesters gathered on the Ambala-Saha road when they learnt that the BJP was holding an event.
Protestors were detained in Panipat when they were staging a demonstration against BJP leaders. They were released later.
Meanwhile, Haryana Bharatiya Kisan Union chief Gurnam Singh Chaduni led a march with farmers on different vehicles from Dera Baba Nanak in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district to the Singhu border in Delhi.
Chaduni said it had been more than seven months since the farmers started their protest at Delhi’s borders, but the BJP-led central government was not listening to the protestors.
“...the BJP-led government is mistaken if it thinks this agitation will die down,” he added. “In fact, it is gaining more and more strength, and farmers will rest only when these laws are scrapped.”
The farm laws protest
Thousands of farmers have camped outside Delhi since November, demanding that the central government repeal the three laws that open up the country’s agriculture markets to private companies. 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.
Talks between farmers groups and the central government to resolve the protests came to a complete deadlock after farmers rejected the Centre’s offer to suspend the laws for two years. The last time both sides met was on January 22. Since then, most farmer leaders have said they were willing to speak to the government again.
The farmers fear the policies will make them vulnerable to corporate exploitation and would dismantle the minimum support price regime. The government, however, continues to claim that the three legislation are pro-farmer.
In January, nearly two months into the farmer protests, the Supreme Court had suspended the implementation of the farm laws. It instead set up a committee and tasked it to consult stakeholders and assess the impact of the laws.