Farmers block National Highway in Haryana against farm ordinances

The Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) claimed that the police resorted to lathicharge to disperse the agitators.

The Bhartiya Kisan Union and other farmer organisations on Thursday blocked the National Highway at Pipli in Kurukshetra district of Haryana to protest the Centre’s three farm ordinances, which they claimed were anti-farmer.

The Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) claimed that the police resorted to lathicharge to disperse the agitators.

Also Read | Punjab rice exporters demand clarity on agriculture ordinance

Kurukshetra Superintendent of Police Astha Modi said agitators blocked the national highway.

Hundreds of farmers managed to reach Pipli Chowk and pelted stones on the police personnel manning the barriers, a police officer said.

The farmers also broke window panes of a fire brigade vehicle parked at the site, he said.

The police resorted to lathicharge to disperse the crowd, the officer said.

Later, the protesters sat on a dharna on the National Highway 22 to block the traffic. Reports of traffic blocked by the farmers at various other roads around Kurukshetra have reached here.

Earlier, despite strict arrangements made by the district administration to prevent any farmer from reaching Pipli grain market to participate in the ‘Kissan Bachao, Mandi Bachao’ rally, many farmers managed to reach near the destination.

Also Read | Farmers stage “tractor protest” in Punjab, Haryana against agriculture Ordinances, fuel rise

About one hundred farmers travelling on their tractors and other vehicles broke the police barriers raised at Dayalpur crossing in Kurukshetra city and proceeded towards Pipli.

Farmer leader Akshay Hathira, who was leading the group, told media that the state government was trying to curb the voice of farmers by banning the rally and imposing prohibitory orders under CrPC section 144 (prevents assembly of five or more people at one spot) at Pipli.

Meanwhile, Pipli Mandi and its surrounding areas were sealed by a large contingent of police.

Congress leader Ashok Arora and Congress MLA from Ladwa, Mewa Singh along with their supporters reached outside the Pipli Mandi and sat on the road when the police prevented them from passing through the barrier.

Also Read | Congress to raise farm ordinances, various ‘scams’ in Haryana House

The BJP-led state government had asked the BKU not to go ahead with the rally in view of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Kurukshetra administration had also pasted a letter outside BKU Haryana unit president Gurnam Singh’s residence warning him not to go ahead with the rally.

However, Singh had said that they will go ahead with the protest.

Notably, farmers in Haryana and Punjab have been protesting against the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020.

Also Read | Farmer organisations demand withdrawal of agri ordinances

Former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda had on Wednesday extended his support to the agitation against the ordinances, which he claimed seek to remove protection given to farmers .

Hooda, who is Leader of the Opposition in Haryana, in a statement had said that not only farmers, but labourers, trade agents and small traders will also be impacted.

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