Karnal lathicharge: Punjab farmers block highways for 2 hrs, burn effigies of Khattar govt

Unions demand strict action against officials, policemen for resorting to force

Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 29

Expressing resentment against the lathicharge on farmers in Haryana, activists of various farm unions under the banner of Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) protested at several locations, including toll plazas, in Bathinda district on Sunday.

Widespread anger

BKU (Ugrahan) general secretary Sukhdev Singh Kokri Kalan said roads were blocked at 56 places for two hours and effigies of the Khattar government were burnt at various places across the state.

Won’t change stand

After seeing success of our Delhi protest, the Centre has panicked. It wants to end stir forcibly. But we will not budge until the repeal of farm laws. — Rajvir Singh, Farmer Leader

Farmers gathered at the Bathinda-Chandigarh highway in Rampura, Jeeda and Lehra Bega toll plazas, Balluana, Ghudda (Bathinda-Badal road), Maiser Khana, Talwandi Sabo (Bathinda-Sardulgarh road) and several other pockets of the district to protest the lathicharge. Protesting farmers blocked the roads from 12 pm to 2 pm and in some villages burnt effigies of Haryana Chief Minister ML Khattar.

BKU (Ekta Ugrahan) general secretary Harjinder Singh Baggi said: “On Saturday, a group of farmers were peacefully protesting in Karnal where the Haryana CM was scheduled to attend a meeting. However, on the directions of senior officials, the police resorted to lathicharge, leaving many farmers seriously injured.”

Union leaders demanded strict action against officials who ordered the lathicharge and punitive action against cops who carried out the orders.

Paramjit Kaur, another farmer leader said: “We demand release of farmers arrested during the protest and free treatment for the injured from hospitals with proper medical facilities.

Similar protests were witnessed in many parts of neighbouring Mansa district where farmers owing allegiance to different unions blocked roads and raised slogans against the Haryana and central governments. Farmers blocked highways at six locations for two hours. Farmers in 62 villages burnt effigies of the Haryana Government to lodge their protest.

Condemning the lathicharge, farmer union leaders along with activists protested against the BJP at Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar. “Peaceful protests against BJP ministers and leaders will continue in future as well. The use of force cannot suppress our voice,” said Kaur.

In Sangrur and Barnala, farmers blocked various roads and announced that they would intensify their agitation in coming days. Members of Kirti Kisan Union blocked the Sangrur-Barnala road at Bahadurpur village and raised slogans against central government.

In Fatehgarh Sahib, farm organisations blocked the traffic on GT Road Sirhind, Mandi Gobindgarh, Khamano, Bassi Pathana and Amloh town. Farmers staged sit-ins at several places and even on link roads. Long queues of vehicles were witnessed on all roads, causing inconvenience to commuters. SKM leader Gursatinder Singh Jallah termed the lathicharge shameful.

(With inputs from Sangrur and Fatehgarh Sahib)

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