Manohar Khattar’s rally cancelled after tear gas, water cannons fail to stop farmers’ protest in Karnal
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar was forced to cancel his ‘mahapanchayat’ after protesting farmers completely ransacked the venue in Karnal on Sunday. From the stage to the helipad designed for Khattar’s chopper, everything was vandalised by farmers. The rally was an outreach programme by the state government where the Chief Minister was scheduled to speak about the new farm laws. According to the Indian Express report, there were about 2,000 farmers present at the venue. Those who were invited were mostly party workers from the Haryana BJP.
Earlier in the day, tension prevailed in and around the ‘mahapanchayt’ venue after the Haryana Police lobbed tear gas shells at the protesters. Water cannons were also used to dissuade the agitators and force them to leave the venue. However, the protesting farmers stormed the area and vandalised everything that came in their way. The cancellation of the rally would translate into a huge embarrassment for Khattar as Karnal happens to be his constituency. Facing such stiff resistance within his stronghold would not help Khattar in endorsing the farm laws.
This was not the first time that Khattar had faced the ire of farmers in the state. Earlier, the Chief Minister’s cavalcade was stopped in Ambala. Not only BJP, ally JJP’s leaders have also faced the wrath. Last year, Haryana officials were slammed for digging up the National Highway to stop the farmers. At that time also, ugly scenes were beamed on national TVs. The Indian Express report says that the farmers had warned the state government that they will not allow any leader to hold a public rally in Haryana unless the Centre repeals the new farm laws.
Since December last year, farmers from Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh etc have been camping at some border areas around Delhi to press the Centre to bring an Ordinance and repeal the legislation. However, after several rounds of talks, the Centre has said that it won’t withdraw the laws. However, it has guaranteed to give a written assurance on MSP.