Police use water cannon in Panipat to stop Haryana Youth Congress ‘tractor rally’ to Delhi

Protesters were opposing the controversial farm Bills recently passed by Parliament

Mukesh Tandon
Tribune News Service
Panipat, September 24

Haryana Police used water cannons on Wednesday to stop Haryana Youth Congress (HYC) activists from heading toward Delhi as protests intensified against the three controversial farm Bills.

Police use water cannon to stop Haryana Youth Congress activists in Samalkha of Panipat on Wednesday. Tribune photo

Police stopped hundreds of protesters heading toward Delhi in tractors on a flyover on national highway-44 in Samalkha of Panipat district, leading to a clash. Police claimed that the repeated entreaties to retreat went unheard. Some protesters even tried to jump over barricades set up to stop the rally from moving forward, police said, prompting them to use water cannon to disperse the swelling crowd.  

“Some activists have been detained to deal with any untoward situation and were released later,” DSP (Headquarter) Satish Kumar Vats said.

Protesters were responding to HYC’s call to rally against the three Bills and had gathered at the Panipat grain market. The crowd primarily comprised farmers, arhtiyas and farm labourers.

The three controversial Bills---The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill,  the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill---passed recently by Parliament has drawn protests both inside and outside the legislature.

Farmers and critics of the Bill fear that the Bills, which the government claims are major reforms to the sector to offer better prices to farmers, as means of eliminating the Minimum Support Price---the fair price system through which farmers are minimum price for their produce regardless of various market fluctuations.

Their fears are primarily founded on the Bills’ move to allow farm trading beyond APMC’s reach, which farmers say could be detrimental to their interests and expose them to exploitation.

Youth Congress national president Srinivas BV called the Bills “anti farmer decisions” and said that the protests will intensify.

HYC state president Sachin Kundu said the way the central government had the three Bills passed was “anti-democratic”, and that the three Bills could aggravate farm distress and lead to more suicides among farmers.

“These agricultural ordinances were a direct attack on the Mandi system,” he said.

The Bills has became a major flashpoint in Parliament as well: protests over the manner in which the Bill was passed led to suspension of eight Rajya Sabha Members, and led several major opposition parties to walkout of the House and eventually decide to boycott proceedings unless the suspension was revoked.   

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