Screengrabs and photographs shared on Twitter showing police lathicharge on farmers at Karnal and its aftermath. Photos: Twitter

New Delhi: Several were injured on Saturday, August 28, as police lathicharged protesters heading towards Karnal to demonstrate at a BJP meeting, against the farm laws.

The brutality of the police’s beatings, captured on several videos that went viral on social media, led to more protests across Haryana.

 

According to reports, protests are still on at the Fatehabad-Chandigarh, Gohana-Panipat and the Jind-Patiala highways, and the Ambala-Chandigarh and the Hisar-Chandigarh national highways.

The BJP meeting, held at Prem Plaza Hotel, according to Indian Express, was attended by Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, state BJP president Om Prakash Dhankar and other senior leaders of the party.

Haryana Bhartiya Kisan Union (Chaduni) chief Gurnam Singh Chaduni said that as part of their ongoing agitation against the farm laws, the farmers had decided to hold a peaceful protest against BJP leaders, for which they had assembled at the Bastara toll plaza, in response to a call given by the BKU.

The toll plaza was 15 kilometres from the hotel at Karnal.

Citing Section 144 of the CrPC imposed in the area banning assembly of five or more people, the police made several announcements over loud speakers, declaring the gathering by the protesters “unlawful”. In addition, all roads leading to the BJP meeting venue in Karnal had been heavily barricaded.

Police claimed only mild force was used as the protesters were blocking the highway, affecting traffic movement.

However, on Twitter, videos have been circulated showing senior officials – whom some have identified as the Karnal District Magistrate – allegedly asking personnel to “break the heads” of protesters.

 

Several protesters present at the site near the Bastara toll plaza claimed to have witnessed 8-10 people sustain injuries in the police action.

“Many farmers were injured after police brutally lathicharged them without any provocation. Some even could be seen with blood all over their clothes,” Chaduni said, strongly condemning the police action.

 

The use of force by the police invited severe criticism from various political parties.

Strongly condemning the action, senior Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala tweeted, “Khattar Sahab, today you have rained lathis on Haryanvis’ soul coming generations will remember the blood of farmers which has been spilled on the roads.”

Indian National Lok Dal senior leader Abhay Singh Chautala also strongly condemned the police action.

Swaraj India president and key leader of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha Yogendra Yadav said the lathicharge exposed the true face of the Haryana Police.

This story first appeared on thewire.in