Strongly condemning Haryana’s forcible attempts to stop farmers from marching to Delhi in protest against the farm laws, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh yesterday warned the BJP-led government against pushing them to the brink.
Urging the Manohar Lal Khattar government to allow the protesting farmers to pass through the national highway to take their voice to Delhi peacefully, Amarinder Singh questioned the need to stop them from proceeding.
“Why is the Khattar government in Haryana stopping farmers from moving to Delhi? The tyrannical use of brute force against peacefully protesting farmers is totally undemocratic and unconstitutional,” he said, asserting that “the hands that feed the nation deserve to be held, not pushed aside”.
Terming it a “sad irony” that on Constitution Day, the constitutional right of farmers to protest was being suppressed, the chief minister flayed the use of brute force by the Haryana police, which had used water cannons and teargas in a bid to stop the Punjab farmers from marching through the state and had not allowed farmer from Haryana to move out of their villages in many places.
“What was the need for violence,” Amarinder Singh asked, pointing out that the farmers had been protesting for the past two months in Punjab without any problem, even though the state had suffered crores of rupees in losses.
There had been no violence or law and order problem in Punjab, he observed, terming the Haryana government’s actions as provocative. “For nearly two months farmers have been protesting peacefully in Punjab without any problem.”
On Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s condemnation of the use of force against farmers in Haryana, Amarinder Singh raised doubts over the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader’s sincerity towards the farmers’ cause, asking why the Delhi government had failed to bring its own laws in the state Assembly to counter the dangers of the central farm laws.
“Kejriwal is just playing to the gallery, the fact is that he neither cares for the farmers nor is interested in protecting them,” said the Punjab chief minister, urging his Delhi counterpart to stand firmly with the farmers instead of indulging in double standards, if he really cared about them.
Meanwhile, tens of thousands of farmers managed to break police barricades at several places in Haryana while heading to the national capital.
Several protesters and policemen were injured.
The farmers broke barricades and threw them down the bridge ahead of the Punjab-Haryana border in Shambhu near Ambala.
According to official estimates, there are over 50,000 farmers heading towards Delhi.
Residents of several towns located along the Punjab-Haryana borders throughout the day faced a harrowing time due to the heavy deployment of the security forces and snapping of the bus services in the past 24 hours.
Several link roads entering Haryana have also been barricaded.
Despite the use of water cannons, the protesting farmers, comprising men and women — both young and old — and school and college students riding tractor-trailers, cars and motorcycles, managed to enter Haryana from Punjab near Shambhu in Patiala district.
Angry farmers threw stones at security forces deployed to control the crowd at the Shambhu border.
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