Top farmer leaders arrested amid protest march in Haryana, internet shut down

Mahapanchayat in Haryana

Haryana: Amid a heavy deployment of armed forces personnel, farmers in Haryana have begun marching from a grain market Karnal to gherao district offices and protest the August 28 lathi charge and several farmer leaders have been detained so far.

Swaraj India chief Yogendra Yadav has tweeted to say that Haryana police have detained several farmers leaders, including himself and Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) chief Rakesh Tikait from Namaste Chowk, NDTV reported.

Earlier talks between 11 farmer leaders and district officials – over permission for the march – failed. Tikait and Yadav were among those at the meeting.

“No talks were possible with the government (on the subject of permission for the march),” NDTV report quoted Tikait as saying.

The government has said it will not allow this march and has deployed over 40 companies of police and other armed forces.

Mobile internet and SMS services have been suspended in five districts and barricades have been set up. Camera-fitted drones will be used as part of security measures, news agency PTI reported.

Tikait tweeted to say that today’s kisan mahapanchayat and the protest march are “to seek justice” for Sushil Kajla – who farmers claimed died of injuries sustained in the lathi charge. The police, however, have denied this and said he died of a cardiac arrest.

Yadav has appealed to farmers to be disciplined and ensure a peaceful protest. He warned farmers “it is the intention of this government that (your) discipline should be broken… the movement should be dissolved. But we should not allow this to happen”.

The Samyukt Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of around 40 farmer unions gave the call for today’s protests to back its demand for repeal of the GoI introduced farm laws and an FIR against officials who ordered the lathi charge.


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