Kisan Mahapanchayat in Karnal: Security tightened as farmers plan to gherao mini-secretariat

By PTI

KARNAL: Security arrangements have been beefed up in Karnal as farmers will be holding a mahapanchayat on Tuesday and also plan to gherao the mini-secretariat here over the August 28 lathicharge, officials said.

There is heavy deployment of Haryana Police as well as central forces in Karnal, while security forces in adequate strength have also been deployed at the new Anaj Mandi here where farmers will meet and plan to move towards the mini-secretariat, they said.

Officials said vehicular traffic on the Delhi-Karnal-Ambala National highway was plying normally in the morning.

Haryana BKU (Chaduni) chief Gurnam Singh Chaduni has appealed to the farmers to assemble at the Anaj Mandi in a peaceful manner.

“We will be holding a mahapanchayat in new Anaj Mandi.”

“I appeal to all to reach the mandi in a peaceful manner. We have got message that police will allow us to gather at the mandi. Next course of action will be decided at the Mahapanchayat,”┬áChaduni said in a video message.

According to reports, farmers have started reaching the new Anaj Mandi while BKU leader Rakesh Tikait is also reaching Karnal.

Senior police officials have been put on duty at the new Anaj Mandi.

There is also heavy barricading and deployment of security forces at the mini-secretariat here.

Earlier, a day ahead of the proposed gherao of the mini-secretariat by the farmers, central forces were deployed, mobile internet services suspended and prohibitory orders banning gathering of people were imposed.

The Haryana government, which had earlier ordered suspension of mobile internet services here from Monday 12:30 pm to Tuesday midnight, decided to suspend these services in four adjoining districts — Kurukshetra, Kaithal, Jind and Panipat districts with effect from 12 am to 11:59 pm on Tuesday.

Forty companies of security personnel, including 10 companies of central armed police forces, have been deployed in Karnal district where local authorities have also imposed prohibitory orders under section 144 of the CrPC, officials said.

According to a Haryana Police advisory issued on Monday, National Highway No 44 (Ambala-Delhi) may see some traffic disruptions in the district on Tuesday.

“Therefore, the general public using NH-44 are advised to avoid journey through Karnal town or otherwise use alternate routes to go to their destination on September 7,” it said.

A Haryana Police spokesperson had later said in case need arises, planned route diversions on the Delhi-Ambala National Highway will be brought into effect from 9 am Tuesday, but until then traffic will ply normally.

With additional force from neighbouring districts in place, five SP-rank officers and 25 DSP-rank officers are overseeing security arrangements here, Karnal’s Superintendent of Police, Ganga Ram Punia said.

Drones fitted with cameras will be mobilised as part of security measures, he said.

No one will be allowed to take law into one’s hand, Karnal Deputy Commissioner Nishant Kumar Yadav said earlier.

Speaking to reporters in Chandigarh on Monday, Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij appealed to farmers to ensure that the protest is peaceful and the common man is not affected.

The Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of farmer outfits protesting against the farm laws, had threatened to lay siege to the Karnal mini-secretariat on Tuesday if its demands were not met.

The Haryana Police had lathicharged a group of farmers disrupting traffic movement on a national highway near here on August 28 while heading towards Karnal to protest against a BJP meeting.

Over 10 protesters were injured.

The SKM had said a murder case should be registered against IAS officer Ayush Sinha who was caught on tape allegedly telling policemen to “break heads” of protesting farmers.

Sinha, who was later transferred in a reshuffle also involving some other IAS officers, has now been posted as the additional secretary in the Citizen Resources Information Department.

Chaduni said a meeting with district administration officials was held here on Monday, but after failing to get any satisfactory response about their demands they decided to hold a big panchayat on Tuesday before proceeding to the mini-secretariat to gherao it.

He had earlier sought registration of a case against those involved in the lathicharge.

He also demanded a compensation of Rs 25 lakh and a government job for the family of a farmer who died after allegedly sustaining injuries in the lathicharge.

However, the administration here claimed that the farmer was not injured in the police action but had died due to a heart attack.