Saturday, June 8, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

CRPF to clear road blocks by farmers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 7
With the BKU not responding to appeals from the Haryana Government yesterday to come to the negotiating table, the government today indicated toughening of its stance as it announced that six companies of the CRPF were being brought to the state from Delhi to clear road blocks which were hindering the movement of Army vehicles. The CRPF columns would clear strategically sensitive and important roads, the announcement said and added that the CRPF would also protect the vulnerable areas besides providing security to defence installations.

One column had already landed in Rohtak and five more were likely to reach by tonight, it was stated.

It could be that the CRPF columns were being requisitioned to put pressure on the BKU to come to the negotiating table without insisting on the preconditions regarding withdrawal of cases against them.

Confronting the agitators once again with force does seem unlikely as a section of the INLD members is upset over the incidents of police firing leading to the death of six BKU supporters. “I simply cannot forget that the INLD, too, has put itself in the same bracket as the Bhajan Lal and Bansi Lal governments by firing at farmers”, said a senior INLD member.

Another senior ruling party functionary said that it was an imprudent move on the part of the state government to arrest BKU leaders and then try to win over the farmers by announcing that 75 per cent of their pending electricity dues would be waived if they settled their bills. “ Non-implementation of the Kandela agreement signed between state government representatives Ajay Chautala, MP, and Jaswinder Singh Sandhu, Agriculture Minister, and the BKU was also unfortunate”, he said.

How the state government will resolve the BKU tangle remains unclear also because of Mr Chautala’s scheduled foreign visit. He is slated to leave on Sunday night. The Finance Minister, Mr Sampat Singh, who has been made the chairman of the four-member committee constituted by the state government in the wake of the agitation launched by the BKU, will also accompany him.

Sources here, however, said that Mr Ajay Chautala could negotiate with the BKU on behalf of the Chief Minister.

Meanwhile, the BKU has called a condolence meeting in Gulkani village in Jind district on Sunday to mourn the death of five persons in police firing in two separate incidents in this village. Top BKU leaders, including those against whom arrest warrants have been issued but have been evading arrest so far, are expected to attend the meeting at which the organisation is likely to take some crucial decisions.

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