Haryana: Chief Minister of Haryana Manohar Lal Khattar’s visit to a village near Karnal in the state and his meeting with a gathering of farmers got cancelled after a group of farmers protesting against GoI’s agri-sector laws ransacked the venue.
Earlier, amid preparations for the event, Haryana police had started the crackdown on the protesting farmers, when they tried to enter the Kemla village, using tear gas shells and water cannons. But the farmers had managed to enter the village and reach the venue of the meeting, NDTV reported.
The report said that cellphone footage showed many of them on the dais, shouting, throwing down chairs and tearing up posters.
The Chief Minister was scheduled to attend the gathering of farmers at the village and speak on the benefits of the GoI’s three farm laws passed in September.
BJP-ruled Haryana had made headlines in November last year when it decided to stop the farmers on way to Delhi from across the state as well as those in Punjab.
For days, there have been reports and video footage of the police clashing with farmers, using batons, barricades, tear gas and water cannons.
Meanwhile, Congress’s Randeep Surjewala tweeted: “Respected Manohar Lal Ji, please stop this pretence of Kisan Mahapanchayat in Kaimla village. By playing with the sentiments of those who provide us with food, please stop meddling with the law and order situation”.
“If you want to have a conversation, have it with those who have been protesting for the last 46 days,” read another tweet from Surjewala.
Pertinently, anger against the GoI has been simmering since the month of September when the parliament of India passed three farm laws. From last many days, thousands of farmers from Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh have been marching toward the New Delhi and are nearing the borders.
After failing to garner support from their respective state governments, the farmers have decided to mount pressure on the GoI, due to which they are coming to Delhi.
In UP and Haryana, BJP led governments have failed to convince farmers, however, governments of Rajasthan and Punjab have extended full support to their agitation.
Farmers want GoI to either withdraw the three legislations or guarantee them the minimum support price (MSP) for their crops by introducing a new law.
Gurnam Singh Chaduni is leading the protestors from Haryana. Gurnam had contested the 2019 Assembly elections from Ladwa constituency in Kurukshetra district, but got only 1,307 votes. However, he was quite active in raising farmers’ issues and led several protests across the state.
Apart from Gurnam, several national and regional farm unions, comprising many leaders, have joined hands under the umbrella banner of Samyukt Kisan Morcha.
As farmers do not accept the three new legislations — The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation); The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance; and Farm Services and The Essential Commodities (Amendment), they believe the laws will open agricultural sale and marketing outside the notified Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) mandis for farmers, remove the barriers to inter-state trade, and provide a framework for electronic trading of agricultural produce.
Since the state governments will not be able to collect market fee, cess or levy for trade outside the APMC markets, farmers believe the laws will gradually end the mandi system and leave farmers at the mercy of corporates.
They are also of the opinion that dismantling the mandi system will bring an end to the assured procurement of their crops at MSP. Similarly, farmers believe the price assurance legislation may offer protection to farmers against price exploitation, but will not prescribe the mechanism for price fixation.
Farmers are demanding the government guarantee MSP in writing, or else the free hand given to private corporate houses will lead to their exploitation.