Police baton charge protesting farmers at Bastara toll plaza in Karnal, 10 injured; highways blocked
New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The Haryana Police on Saturday lathi-charged the protesting farmers at the Bastara Toll-Plaza area in Karnal disrupting traffic movement on the highway and injuring at least 10 people. The farmers were protesting against a baton charge at some farmers while they reportedly tried to stop state BJP chief OP Dhankar's convoy.
Following the lathi-charge at the protesting farmers, Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader, Rakesh Tikait, who is spearheading the farmers' protest against the Centre's three farm laws, said that all the roads will be blocked till 5 pm in the state to demonstrate against the lathi charge by the police in Karnal. "To protest the baton-charge in Haryana's Karnal, all the roads will be blocked till 5 pm in the state," BKU leader Rakesh Tikait said.
The affected routes included the Fatehabad-Chandigarh, Gohana-Panipat and the Jind-Patiala highways, and the Ambala-Chandigarh and the Hisar-Chandigarh national highways.
Several protesters present at the site near the Bastara toll plaza around 15 km from Karnal claimed to have witnessed 8-10 people sustain injuries in the police action. The police, however, said only mild force was used as the protesters were blocking the highway, affecting traffic movement.
Farmers protesting the central farm laws have been opposing public functions of the BJP-JJP combine in Haryana. Several farmers had gathered at the Bastara toll plaza near Karnal, responding to a call given by the BKU.
Citing section 144 of the CrPC imposed in the area banning assembly of five or more people, the police made several announcements over loudspeakers, declaring the gathering by the protesters "unlawful". Initially, they asked the farmers to disperse, but resorted to force as the protesters refused to budge.
The police said the protesters were bent on moving towards the venue of the BJP meeting in Karnal. All roads leading to the venue had been heavily barricaded. "Many farmers were injured after police brutally lathi-charged them without any provocation. Some even could be seen with blood all over their clothes," Chaduni said, strongly condemning the police action.
He said that as part of their ongoing agitation against the farm laws, the farmers had decided to hold a peaceful protest against BJP leaders, for which they had assembled at the Bastara toll plaza. The use of force by the police invited severe criticism from various political parties.
Strongly condemning the action, senior Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala tweeted, "Khattar Sahab, today you have rained lathis on Haryanvis' soul… coming generations will remember the blood of farmers which has been spilt on the roads."
Indian National Lok Dal senior leader Abhay Singh Chautala also strongly condemned the police action. Swaraj India president and key leader of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha Yogendra Yadav said the lathi-charge exposed the true face of the Haryana Police.
(With Agencies Inputs)
Posted By: Talibuddin Khan