Hisar administration agrees to withdraw criminal cases against farmers after hours of impasse

Farmer leaders, including Rakesh Tikait and Gurnam Singh Charuni hold talks with district authorities

Deepender Deswal
Tribune News Service

Hisar, May 24

Hisar administration said on Monday they would drop criminal charges in connection with a clash between police and farmers last week—a development that comes after talks with farmer leaders earlier in the day after a massive protest in the city by farmers.

An 11-member farmer delegation lead by Rakesh Tikait held talks with police and district administration officials at the mini-secretariat to resolve the deadlock over the clash with police in the district on May 16 that left several wounded on both sides last week.

The clash broke out just before Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar was to visit the city to inaugurate a new Covid care centre.

 Among prominent farmer leaders who attended the meeting were Rakesh Tikait and Joginder Singh Ugraha, Gurnam Singh Charuni, Yudhvir Singh, and Abhimanyu Kohar. Also present were some women activists.

Farmer leaders said they were satisfied with the conclusion of the meeting and with the assurance that the administration gave them.

The leaders said that their protest against the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Jannayak Janata Party will continue.

Ugraha said that the administration has also promised to compensate farmer activists whose vehicles were damaged in the May 16 clash.

The meeting came after a standoff between farmers and the district administration after farmers threatened to gherao the mini secretariat.

District administration issued a statement later in the evening saying that the criminal charges registered against farmers on May 16 will be dropped after "due legal process", and that such a process will begin soon. It however gave no deadline for dropping the charges and made no mention of any other criminal charges against farmers, even though the farmer leaders who addressed the press earlier said the administration had agreed to withdraw all criminal cases filed against farmers this month.

A massive build-up of protesters from Hisar and adjoining districts put authorities on the tenterhooks in the town. While the town turned into a virtual fortress with heavy deployment of police, the force has so far not restricted the farmers from entering the town. 

A farmer, Ramchander Kharab, from Ugalan village died of heart failure in Hisar. He was here to participate in the protest demonstration.

Around 1,000 farmers gathered at the Krantiman park located on the Matka Chowk. Farmer leaders, including Rakesh Tikait and Gurnam Singh Charuni, have also reached the town. 

Heavy police force was deployed at the mini secretariat in Hisar. Tribune photo

Meanwhile, the mini secretariat and the residence of the senior administration, police, and judicial officers were virtually sealed by police who have deployed multiple layers of security. Sources said that 70 police companies were deployed in and around Hisar. 

Farmers were headed for Hisar in large numbers. Tribune photo.

Sources said 50 police companies have been deployed in the city. Tribune photo.

The farmers were upset after the police booked about 350 of them on charges of attempt to murder and other sections of the IPC last Sunday (May 16) in connection with a violent clash with the police during the inauguration of the Covid hospital by the Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar in Hisar.

Hisar's Krantiman park where farmers are set to gather. Tribune photo

The violence erupted when the farmers tried to stage a protest demonstration on the visit of the CM. While the CM left the venue before the protests could reach the venue, a clash between farmers and police clash ensued which resulted in several injures on both sides.

The city has been turned into a fortress with multi-tier barricading in place. Tribune photo

Farmers allege the government was targeting them. Tribune photo

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