Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar’s visit to a village near Karnal and his meeting with a gathering of farmers got cancelled after a group of farmers protesting against the Centre’s agri-sector laws ransacked the venue. The Haryana police had started the crackdown on the protesting farmers, when they tried to enter the Kemla village, using tear gas shells and water cannons. But the farmers had managed to enter the village and reach the venue of the meeting.
Cellphone footage showed many of them on the dais, shouting, throwing down chairs and tearing up posters.
The Chief Minister was scheduled to attend the gathering of farmers at the village and speak on the benefits of the Centre’s three farm laws passed in September. Anticipating trouble, arrangements were made for heavy security and a number of police personnel were deployed at the village ahead of the meeting.
BJP-ruled Haryana had made headlines in November when it decided to stop the farmers on way to Delhi from across the state as well as those in Punjab.
For days, there have been reports and video footage of the police clashing with farmers, using batons, barricades, tear gas and water cannons.
Following the huge criticism, the Central government had decided to conduct a huge outreach programme to dispel “misconceptions” about the laws.
But over the last week, the Chief Minister’s outreach programme had run into trouble in this area as farmers hardened their stance in Delhi.
On Friday, the local protesters had clashed with the villagers and the local BJP workers, who are promoting the visit. The face-off started when the villagers didn’t allow the farmers to enter into the village to register their protest.
Today, Congress’s Randeep Surjewala tweeted: “Respected Manohar Lal ji, please stop this pretence of Kisan Mahapanchayat in Kaimla village. By playing with the sentiments of those who provide us with food, please stop meddling with the law and order situation”.
“If you want to have a conversation, have it with those who have been protesting for the last 46 days,” read another tweet from Mr Surjewala.