Section 144 Imposed In Karnal Ahead Of Farmer Protests Against Lathicharge, Mobile Internet Suspended

Farmer unions have called for a grand panchayat followed by a gherao of the mini-Secretariat in Karnal on September 7 to protest against the police lathicharge on farmers on August 28.

Section 144 Imposed In Karnal Ahead Of Farmer Protests Against Lathicharge, Mobile Internet Suspended

A day ahead of the protesting farmers' planned demonstration outside the mini-secretariat in Karnal, Haryana, the district administration has issued prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) banning five or more people from gathering in the area on Monday.

The prohibitory order comes in the wake of calls by several protesting farmer bodies about a grand panchayat to be held in Karnal followed by a mini gerao of the mini-secretariat in protest of the August 28 lathicharge on farmers. 

Along with the order banning the assembly of more than five people, the district administration has also issued a traffic advisory with planned route diversions.

Several protesting farmer unions have given a call for mass demonstrations in Karnal on September 7.

Haryana Bhartiya Kisan Union (Chaduni) chief Gurnam Singh Chaduni on Monday said a big panchayat will be held in Karnal on Tuesday, after which farmers will proceed to gherao the mini-secretariat.

"Farmers will be gathering in Karnal's New Anaj Mandi on Tuesday morning," he said.

The Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of various farmer outfits protesting against the farm laws, has threatened to lay siege to the Karnal mini-secretariat on September 7 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.

It had also demanded that he be dismissed from service.

The Haryana government on Wednesday transferred 19 IAS officers, including Karnal SDM Ayush Sinha, who has now been posted as the additional secretary in the Citizen Resources Information Department.

Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar had earlier admitted that the choice of words used by Sinha, a 2018-batch IAS officer, was wrong but had defended the police action.

A delegation of Congress MLAs had met Haryana Governor Bandaru Dattatreya, seeking a judicial probe into the lathicharge on the farmers.

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

He had 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 in Karnal on Saturday.

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

Chaduni also demanded a compensation of Rs 2 lakh to each of the injured farmers.

The farmer leader had last week also announced to lay a siege to the secretariat office in Karnal on September 7 for an indefinite period if their demands are not met.

Director General of Police P K Agrawal on Saturday visited Karnal for a meeting with senior officials where he reviewed the security arrangements ahead of Tuesday's protest. 

Meanwhile, the Haryana government ordered suspension of mobile internet services in Karnal district to "stop the spread of misinformation and rumours” through social media.

The mobile internet services in Karnal district will remain suspended from 12:30 pm on Monday to Tuesday midnight. (With inputs from PTI)