Around 10 people were injured on Saturday after police lathicharged a group of farmers for disrupting traffic movement on a highway while heading towards Karnal in Haryana to protest against a BJP meeting. The police action has elicited criticisms from all quarters, except for the Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar, who has defended it, saying assurances of a peaceful protest were given, but stones were hurled at cops and a highway was blocked. Here’s a look at what people had to say about the incident:
Conspiracy against farmers, says Rakesh Tikait
Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait on Sunday met some of the injured protesters in a hospital in Karnal and condemned the brutal lathicharge by police. He said the conspiracy to attack the farmers in Karnal is clear from the directives of the disrict magistrate, who was caught on camera ordering the police to “crack the skulls” of farmers and lash them with sticks. The government is using lathis to suppress the voice of farmers, but it is a mistake, Tikait said.
Haryana BKU (Chaduni) chief Gurnam Singh Chaduni said a meeting of farmers’ outfits will be held in Karnal on Monday to discuss the future course of action in the wake of the alleged lathicharge.
Brazen brutality, says Amarinder Singh
Expressing shock at the “brazen brutality” of the Haryana Police, Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh has slammed his Haryana counterpart for “unleashing such a vicious assault on the peacefully protesting farmers”. Singh said this was not the first time that farmers had been subjected to such ruthlessness at the hands of the Haryana Police. He said it was evident that the BJP-led Haryana government had once again deliberately used brute force against farmers in a desperate bid to end their agitation against the “draconian” farm laws. Earlier in November 2020, the Haryana Police had “ferociously assaulted” farmers to stop them from marching to the borders of Delhi to join the agitation against the farm laws, he added. “Such Khattar government-sponsored attacks on farmers are not only unacceptable but outright condemnable,” Singh said, demanding an apology from Khattar and aid for the injured farmers. “This is no way to treat our annadatas,” he said.
Blood spilled again, says Rahul Gandhi
Rahul Gandhi took to Twitter to condemn the lathicharge, stating that the act has brought shame to the country.
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) August 28, 2021
“Lathitantra”, says Priyanka Gandhi
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra shared pictures of the injured farmers on Facebook. “Farmers with their hard work grow bountiful crops in their fields and when they ask for their rights, the BJP government bleeds them by wielding batons. Every blow dealt on farmers will serve as a nail in the coffin of the BJP,” she wrote on the social media platform.
General Dyer government, says Randeep Surjewala
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala condemned the attack and dubbed the BJP-JJP regime as the “General Dyer government”. “CM-Dy CM’s conspiracy to attack farmers in Karnal is clear from the orders of the duty magistrate, who is ordering the police to break the heads of farmers and lash them with sticks. BJP-JJP is the ‘General Dyer’ government,” he said in a tweet in Hindi.
“Khattar Sahib, Today in Karnal sticks have been blown on the soul of every Haryanvi. The oppression of the sinful BJP government that bleeds farmers is like demons. The coming generations will remember the blood from farmers’ bodies flown on the streets,” he said in another tweet.
गुरू मोदी जी ने आज पंजाब में जलियांवाला बाग के लाइट एंड साउंड शो का उद्घाटन किया और शिष्य खट्टर जी ने करनाल में अन्नदाताओं पर लाठीचार्ज करवा के जनरल डायर जैसी बरर्बता का लाइव प्रसारण करवा दिया?
शर्म करो भाजपा-जजपा सरकार!
डूब मरो, न्याय करो,
बेक़सूर अन्नदाताओं को रिहा करो ! pic.twitter.com/AU56bq9m2g
— Randeep Singh Surjewala (@rssurjewala) August 28, 2021
Really sad, says Vijender Singh
Indian boxer Vijender Singh Beniwal too took to Twitter to express his sadness over the attack.
— Vijender Singh (@boxervijender) August 28, 2021
Unacceptable, says Varun Gandhi
BJP leader and Pilibhit MP Varun Gandhi tweeted the video where Karnal’s sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) Ayush Sinha was caught issuing instructions to the police to “crack their (protesting farmers’) heads” while dealing with the agitators.
I hope this video is edited and the DM did not say this… Otherwise, this is unacceptable in democratic India to do to our own citizens. pic.twitter.com/rWRFSD2FRH
— Varun Gandhi (@varungandhi80) August 28, 2021
Coercive government says, Jaiveer Shergill
Another Congress spokesperson, Jaiveer Shergill, too, tweeted a picture of an injured farmer and called the BJP government zulmi or “coercive”.
— Jaiveer Shergill (@JaiveerShergill) August 28, 2021
Last nail in coffin, says Abhay Singh Chautala
Indian National Lok Dal senior leader Abhay Singh Chautala has strongly condemned the police action and said that by attacking farmers the state government has put the last nail in its coffin.
शांतिपूर्ण ढंग से विरोध कर रहे किसानों पर लाठियां बरसा कर गठबंधन सरकार अपने ताबूत में आखिरी कील ठोक रही है। अहंकारी सरकार एक दर्जन बार किसानों पर लाठियां बरसा कर उन्हें लहूलुहान कर चुकी है। सत्ता का ये अहंकार किसान चकनाचूर करना जानते हैं। #INLDsupportFarmerspic.twitter.com/6ChpqmCFmr
— Abhay Singh Chautala (@AbhaySChautala) August 28, 2021
With input from agencies