Blamed for kisan mahapanchayat chaos by Manohar Lal Khattar, Gurnam Singh Chaduni is face of Haryana farmers’ stir

The 64-year-old Bharatiya Kisan Union chief, who hails from Kurukshetra's Chaduni Jatan, had unsuccessfully contested the 2019 Assembly polls from the Ladwa seat

FP Staff January 11, 2021 18:03:13 IST
Blamed for kisan mahapanchayat chaos by Manohar Lal Khattar, Gurnam Singh Chaduni is face of Haryana farmers’ stir

Hours after he was forced to cancel his appearance at a 'kisan mahapanchayat' in Haryana's Karnal district, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar accused Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) chief Gurnam Singh Chaduni of "instigating the violence".

Chaduni, 64, hails from Kurukshetra district's Chaduni Jatan village.  He unsuccessfully contested the 2019 Assembly election from Kurukshetra's Ladwa constituency. He described himself as an agriculturist and commission agent in his 2019 poll affidavit.

“I could not clear Class 10 because of the pressure of agriculture works at our fields. In 1992, BKU leaders had come to my village looking for volunteers to join the farmers’ stir. The villagers handed me over to them. That’s how my journey started in the farmers’ agitation,” he told Indian Express.

After the 9 December talks between protesting farmers and the Centre were cancelled, he spoke on behalf of the farmers and reiterated that there was no question of withdrawing from the two issues which are legal guarantee for MSP and repealing of the farm laws.

His statement came after the government agreed to drop penal provisions against farmers in an ordinance relating to stubble burning and to put on hold a proposed electricity amendment law.

Chaduni, part of seven-member committee of farmer union leaders formed to devise strategies for talks with the Centre in December, was also instrumental in getting farmers from Bihar to join the agitation in the north.

Soon after his Patna visit, Bihar Kisan Manch president Dhirendra Singh Tuddu announced that farmers will hold three-day protest in Patna from 5 January before moving to Delhi in trains.

Chaduni continued to blame the government for misleading farmers on the Minimum Support Price (MSP) as agitating farmers continued to intensify the stir. Speaking from the Tikri border in December, Chaduni said, "One thing the BJP is spreading [sic] that MSP will be given. The government is misleading everyone on MSP. Home minister Amit Shah replied to us during the 8 December meet that they can't buy all 23 crops at MSP as its costs Rs 17 lakh crore."

In November, Haryana Police booked Chaduni for rioting and attempt to murder as he gave a call to the protesting farmers to dismantle all barricades. Chaduni has been the main face of the farmers’ agitation in Haryana against three farm laws. The FIR has been lodged in connection with the farmers’ movement to Delhi from Ambala, during which they broken police barricades.

In October, he was booked for allegedly making derogatory remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, “promoting enmity” between different groups and provoking the “breach of peace”. The FIR, at the Shahabad police station of Kurukshetra district, was booked soon after Chaduni, who led the agitation against three contentious farm laws in Haryana, called on the farmers to burn Modi’s effigies on Dussehra.

Under Chaduni, farmers had started protesting as early as July, with as many as 15,000 farmers protesting under his leadership on 20 July atop tractors.

Chaduni has also led protests on issues like procurement price of paddy. The BKU in September had called on farmers to block roads in front of mandis to protest against the conditions imposed for procurement of paddy. The procurement cap was later increased.

He also led a sit-in protest inside the waters of the flooded Begna river in Ambala district for five days in August 2019 for the release of dues of sugarcane farmers and had ended the agitation only after the government agreed to release the dues of Rs 70 crore.

Chaduni and other farmers had also climbed an 80-feet-tall water tank in July 2019 to demand purchase of the entire sunflower crop. He alighted only after the government agreed to purchase the entire produce of the farmers.

"Yes, we didn't allow Khattar sahab  to hold the rally in Karnal. BJP said that they will hold 700 rallies to break our movement and we will protest against such BJP rallies," an undaunted Chaduni said.

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