Jhajjar: Water cannons fired on protesting farmers ahead of Haryana deputy CM’s event

Amid heavy police and paramilitary deployment, hundreds of farmers carrying black flags gathered around 8 am near the government post graduate Nehru college, where Dushyant Chautala was supposed to arrive at 11 am for an event.

Haryana police on Friday used water cannons to disperse farmers who were protesting with black flags and marching to a venue where Haryana deputy CM Dushyant Chautala was scheduled to attend an event on Friday morning in Jhajjar.

Amid heavy police and paramilitary deployment, hundreds of farmers carrying black flags gathered around 8 am near the government post graduate Nehru college, where Chautala was supposed to arrive at 11 am for an event. Anticipating protests from farmer groups, the administration had cordoned off the entire area with multiple layers of barricading to halt the movement of farmers.

Farmers said that they requested the district administration and police officers to allow them to peacefully protest within a 100 metres radius of the venue.

“About 500 farmers, majority from Dhasa toll and several khaps, had arrived at the venue. The officials kept stalling our request and did not allow us to move to the front of the venue for a peaceful protest. They were denying our democratic right to protest. When our request was denied, we started marching towards the venue and broke through two barricades. They used water cannons for 20 minutes and detained about 30 farmers in buses. Some paramilitary officials used some force to push us back to try and disperse us,” said Daljeet Singh Dagar, general secretary, Bhartiya Kisan Union, Delhi, adding that no one suffered serious injuries.

Sources said around 10 am, the farmers including women and senior citizens, holding black flags, removed and breached the first barricade and marched ahead. As they proceeded towards the second line of barricading, the police fired water cannons to disperse the protesters. Several protesters were hauled up in buses and detained.

The farmers alleged that sewer water was used in water cannons.

“This is a dictatorship. It is shameful that they used sewer water in the cannons on us [farmers]. This is disrespectful. Which government treats anndatas like this? But we remain defiant and will continue to protest till these black laws are repealed. Wherever these leaders attend government events, we will block roads and protest peacefully,” said Baljit Singh, a farmer from Sangrur, who had come from Singhu border.

Shikha, sub divisional magistrate (SDM), Jhajjar, denied that dirty water was used in water cannons. “This is incorrect. It was normal water.”

After half an hour, the farmers and administration officials discussed the matter and mediated a solution, allowing 15 protesters including five women to sit in front of the venue for a peaceful protest.

“About 100-150 farmers carrying black flags had gathered for the protest. When they pushed through the barricades, a single water cannon was used to disperse them to prevent a law and order situation. After mediation, 15 protesters were allowed to peacefully register their protest outside the venue. The protesters left after the deputy CM went to another venue,” said SDM.

She added that some farmers were detained, but the exact number was not known.

Despite repeated attempts and a text message, Jhajjar deputy commissioner, Shyam Lal Poonia, could not be contacted for a comment.

In a video on social media, speaking to media persons earlier in the day, Poonia had said, “This is a democracy and everyone has a right to raise their voice peacefully. I appeal to farmers to conduct the protest in a peaceful way. We are also bound by our duty and you [farmers] are also bound by yours.”

The protesters showed black flags to the deputy CM when he arrived at the event later.

“Only after water cannon visuals were shared on media and administration officials received reports that more farmers will soon arrive at the venue, they allowed 15 of us to peacefully protest. We showed black flags to the deputy CM and registered our protest. We left only after he exited the venue. He should resign from his post considering he has supported these anti farmer laws,” said Daljeet Singh Dagar.

Last week at an event in Mewat, Dushyant Chautala had declared that he and his MLAs would ‘resign in a minute’ if MSP was stopped or farmers’ lands were usurped. He had said that a lot of misconceptions were being spread about farm laws.

A day earlier, on Thursday, farmers had broken through barricades and protested for five hours outside a venue in Karnal where BJP leaders were holding a party event. The party leaders had to be allegedly escorted from the venue by police officials. Recently, massive protests had broken out in Karnal after the police had lathicharged protesting farmers. A judicial enquiry was subsequently ordered in the incident.

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