Haryana allows Kisan Bachao Rally after farmers block NH-22, face lathicharge

Farmers in Haryana and Punjab have been protesting against three ordinances passed by the Union Cabinet, which former CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda claimed 'seek to remove protection given to farmers'

FP Staff September 10, 2020 17:20:54 IST
Haryana allows Kisan Bachao Rally after farmers block NH-22, face lathicharge

Farmers in Haryana blocked several key arterial roads in Kururkshetra district, including the National Highway 22, for several hours after the state administration refused permission for a pre-planned protest rally at Pipli grain market.

The police, who also resorted to lathicharge, was only able to disperse the farmers from the highway after the administration finally relented and allowed the rally at the farmers' market.

The situation had reached a stalemate when members of the Bhartiya Kisan Union were denied permission to hold a protest rally against Centre's three farm ordinances. As the police tried to stop scores of farmers headed for Pipli, about one hundred farmers travelling on their tractors and other vehicles broke the police barriers raised at Dayalpur crossing in Kurukshetra city and proceeded towards Pipli.

Farmer leader Akshay Hathira, who was leading the group, told media that the state government was trying to curb the voice of farmers by banning the rally and imposing prohibitory orders under CrPC Section 144 (prevents assembly of five or more people at one spot) at Pipli.

Meanwhile, Pipli Mandi and its surrounding areas were sealed by a large contingent of police.

Farmers in Haryana and Punjab have been protesting against three ordinances passed by the Union Cabinet during the lockdown.

The Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance 2020 allows farmers to sell produce outside the markets notified under the various state agricultural produce market laws (state APMC Acts).

The second ordinance, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance 2020 overrides all state APMC laws with reference to the sale and purchase of farm products.

The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance 2020, has brought changes into list of essential items whose prices are regulated by the government.

Broadly, the stated purpose of these ordinances is to create ‘one nation one market’, and provide farmers with the choice to sell their produce for better price and also to attract private investment in the agricultural market.

However, farmers fear that they will not get the minimum support price for their crops after the implementation of new provisions of the law. They also feel the new law will hit the current system of mandis badly, according to The Indian Express.

Congress leader Ashok Arora and Congress MLA from Ladwa, Mewa Singh along with their supporters reached outside the Pipli Mandi and sat on the road when the police prevented them from passing through the barrier.

Kurukshetra Superintendent of Police Astha Modi told PTI, "Hundreds of farmers managed to reach Pipli Chowk and pelted stones on the police personnel manning the barriers. The farmers also broke window panes of a fire brigade vehicle parked at the site."

The police resorted to lathicharge to disperse the crowd, the officer said.

Earlier, despite strict arrangements made by the district administration to prevent any farmer from reaching the Pipli grain market to participate in the "Kissan Bachao, Mandi Bachao" rally, many farmers managed to reach near the destination.

The BJP-led state government had asked the BKU not to go ahead with the rally in view of the coronavirus pandemic. The Kurukshetra administration had also pasted a letter outside BKU Haryana unit president Gurnam Singh’s residence warning him not to go ahead with the rally.

Former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda had on Wednesday extended his support to the agitation against the ordinances, which he claimed “seek to remove protection given to farmers”.

"These ordinances are against the interests of farmers. If the government wants to implement them, then it should ensure that no purchases are made below MSP. The government could bring in a fourth ordinance separately to provide a clear provision that if any agency buys the crop of the farmer below the MSP, then legal action will be taken against it," Hooda said in a statement.

Senior Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala said these ordinances will not only "destroy" farmers, but will also lead a blow to the mandi system and impact farm labourers and "arhitiyas" or commission agents as well.

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