Centre won’t repeal farm laws: Haryana CM Khattar exposes Centre’s plans

It is not explained why over 1,500 cops were deployed, seven checkpoints set up, ahead of a friendly 'kisan mahapanchayat' in Karnal

Image courtesy: https://www.outlookindia.com/

“Discussion can be held on certain points, but I do not think the government is going to withdraw these laws,”  Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has exposed the Union Government’s final stand. Nine rounds of meetings between farmer union leaders, and the government of India have so far been inconclusive. Khattar’s words have only confirmed what farmer leaders had understood a long time ago. That these meetings are mere optics at best, and delaying tactics at worst, deployed by the Union Government which has been waiting for the Supreme Court of India to intervene.

Khattar’s words may however, come back to haunt him, as it was his government which had first launched massive policing actions against the farmers, including deploying massive barricading, digging up roads, blockades and security forces’ actions such as launching a lathi charge, water cannons and firing tear gas shells on the farmers as they headed towards Delhi. Just as the protests were headed towards Delhi in November 2020, at least 30 Haryana farmer leaders had been detained between midnight and early morning of November 24.

On Sunday January 10, Khattar was forced to cancel what his government had called a ‘kisan mahapanchayat’ in Karnal, reportedly after a group of protesting farmers reached the venue and damaged the arrangement. A visibly shaken Khattar called a press conference and confirmed that a “discussion can be held on certain points, but I do not think the government is going to withdraw these laws.”  

He used the disruption of Sunday’s event to say that the “protesters had ‘defamed’ farmers”, and he accused  “Congress party and Communists” as  having “a major role to play” in such incidents.



Apart from accusing the opposition, Khattar also accused state Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Gurnam Singh Chadhuni of “inciting people to disrupt law and order.” He repeated at the press conference that “It is certain” that the farm laws will not be repealed, and “even if state governments are to be exempted, there will only be amendments.”

He also repeated the stand of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government that farmers “should wait for at least one year to see its benefits” adding another one that the “these farm legislations are not binding on farmers”. He failed to explain how the farmers are exempt from the jurisdiction of the three laws, but stated that the “ Mandis are there, MSP is there and shall always be there. Only an alternative has been given to the farmers.”

According to Indian Express, Khattar said his government had organised the ‘kisan mahapanchayat’ in Karnal’s Kaimla village, “to make some announcements of Rs 100-crore development projects at the village”. However, it is not explained why over 1,500 cops had been deployed as security for the meeting and seven checkpoints were set up ahead of the venue. Despite that, the farmers who were protesting did breach six checkpoints, arrived near the helipad, and the authorities had to move the landing spot for Khattar’s helicopter to a different location.

Khattar accused farm leaders of inciting violence saying, “Gurnam Singh Chadhuni’s video released two days ago, wherein he incited people, is responsible for today’s incident. I believe that the Congress party and the Communists have a major role to play in such incidents. Through these agitations, if they think they can spread their wings, they are highly mistaken,” he had said. Khattar told the farmers to end the protest because, “People are dying there (on Delhi’s outskirts) in this weather… I would suggest that this protest should end immediately so that these farmers can go back home.” 

However, according to IE,  Khattar has had to cancel more such scheduled programmes earlier too. On December 9, he scrapped a visit to Padha village in Karnal as protesters allegedly damaged the helipad. On December 22, his convoy was obstructed allegedly by protesters in Ambala. According to IE,  state Home minister Anil Vij’s cavalcade had also been met by angry farmers shouting anti-government slogans. Farmers also disrupted BJP’s programme in Barwala, on January 9, Saturday. After Khattar’s cavalcade was obstructed, Ambala’s then SP Rajesh Kalia was shunted out of the district. Farmers had earlier announced that they would not allow any BJP or JJP leader to hold their scheduled public events across the state unless the three farm legislations are repealed.

Most politicians in Haryana have been reluctant of public meetings as they have reportedly been advised by the intelligence department to not move without adequate security cover. Not one of the Haryana Ministers, or MLAs is said to have gone to meet any of the farm leaders who are protesting out in the open. The state’s farmers sitting on protests have warned that the present Haryana government will not get their votes in the next elections if the laws are not repealed. 

Gurnam Singh Chadhuni told Punjabi News Corner that the farmers will continue to protest all such government rallies in Haryana in the future as well. However, he added that the farmers will not turn violent and will bear the police lathis if they have to. 



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