The Bharatiya Kisan Union's Haryana unit will hold a statewide protest against the Centre's farm bills on Sunday during which they will block roads for three hours, even as Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar appealed for deferring the stir and invited them for talks.
Haryana BKU chief Gurnam Singh said the Centre did not withdraw the three agriculture-related ordinances and presented them as bills during the ongoing session of Parliament, which have been passed in the Lok Sabha. We had warned the government not to go ahead with these 'anti-farmer' legislations. Tomorrow, we will be holding a protest across the state during which we will block roads for three hours. However, the GT road (national highway) will not be blocked, he said on Saturday, adding that they have support from other farmer outfits. He also said that farmers from Haryana and Punjab will start a movement against the anti-farmer measures which will later intensify into pan-India protests.
On September 10, the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) along with some other farmer outfits had held a protest in Kurukshetra's Pipli against the farm ordinances. The BKU leader also demanded that all cases registered against the protesting farmers on September 10 be withdrawn. In an official statement, Khattar urged the farmers to defer the agitation and invited them for discussion. Reiterating his government's commitment towards protection of farmers' interests, the CM said on one hand, everyone in a democracy has the right to express their views, on the other hand, maintaining peace in the state is also the utmost duty of any government.
He asserted that the farm reforms are in the interest of farmers. It is unfortunate to see that the opposition parties have blatantly politicised the issue to achieve their vested interests by misleading the farmers. Being the son of a farmer, I urge the farmers to remember the appeal made by Deenbandhu Chaudhary Chhotu Ram wherein he said that they should recognise their enemies, the statement quoted Khattar as saying. The chief minister said those who are spreading confusion about the farm bills in such times are the ones who are the real enemies of farmers and are just trying to serve their own political interests rather than having any concern about peasants.
If the farmers' interest had been at all affected by these farm reforms, I would have been the first person to oppose them," he said. He also reiterated that the 'mandi' system and minimum support price (MSP) mechanism were here to stay. Meanwhile, the state government issued directions to ensure law and order and minimise inconvenience to the people of the state during the protest from 12 noon to 3 pm on Sunday. An official spokesperson said deputy commissioners of police, inspector generals (IGs) and superintendents of police (SPs) have been directed to reach out to farmer leaders and ensure a peaceful protest.
He said all executive magistrates and police officers have been asked to remain present in the districts and not to proceed on leave. "Executive magistrates have been directed to remain stationed along with their police counterparts at all such places where congregation of protestors is anticipated. Besides this, joint patrolling of the national and state highways or important roads should be conducted by the executive magistrates along with police officials from September 19 itself so as to instill a sense of confidence amongst citizens, the spokesperson said in a statement.
The chief minister said if the farmer associations still go ahead with the agitation, they should ensure that least inconvenience is caused to common citizens. He urged that special care should be taken to ensure no obstruction in the way for any patient going to hospital, pregnant women and vehicles supplying essential commodities. The CM also asked the protestors of being vigilant against "anti-social elements" who try to spread violence during such protests. Reacting to the protest call, Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij said all arrangements have been made to ensure that vehicular movement on highways is not disrupted during the agitation. He also appealed to farmers not to block any highway.