Sunday, 24 October, 2021
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Thousands protest against controversial Indian farm laws

Thousands protest against controversial Indian farm laws

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CHANDIGARH: Over a thousand farmers - shouting slogans and waving flags in protest against the controversial farm laws - gathered outside Haryana Chief Minister ML Khattar's Karnal residence on Saturday morning and announced their intention to mount an overnight vigil, reports NDTV.

Visuals from the area show the farmers standing on top of a pile of yellow police barricades and shouting angrily, while a handful of security forces in riot gear look on.

The farmers were briefly doused with water cannons by police - with whom anti-farm law protesters have clashed several times this week alone - and who have been deployed in large numbers, with tear gas vehicles, at the spot.

Visuals of water cannons being used show a powerful jet of water fired at protestors, some of whom try to get up on their vehicles to escape.

Farmers are also protesting in grain markets in parts of the state, and outside the residences of MLAs from the ruling BJP-Jannayak Janata Party alliance in several districts.

On Friday farmer leader Rakesh Tikait warned of protests, including at the headquarters of the district collectorate in Punjab, to press the centre to start paddy procurement on time.

This was after the centre postponed buying kharif, or monsoon, paddy from Punjab and Haryana till October 11. It said crop maturity had been delayed due to recent rains.

Also Friday, farmers and police in the state clashed yet again as protesters marched against an event attended by Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala in Jhajjar.

Water cannons were fired to stop them, but dramatic visuals showed scores of men and women fighting back as they braved the streams of water and pushed through barricades.

That was the second consecutive day Haryana witnessed farmer-police clashes.

On Thursday chaos broke out in Karnal during an event organised by the ruling BJP.

Massive protests had erupted in Karnal last month too after police lathi charged farmers trying to block a BJP leader from reaching a party event. Ten people were injured in the clash.

There was also a shocking video that showed IAS officer Ayush Sinha asking policemen to "crack farmers heads"; the Chief Minister later appeared to defend Mr Sinha (whom farmers have said must be punished), saying that he had been required to take strict action. He has since been sent on leave.

Farmers in many parts of Haryana have maintained they won't allow any events by the ruling party and its leaders and have repeatedly blocked highways as part of their protests.

The state has taken the issue of highway blockades to the Supreme Court.

Farmers across the country have been protesting against the farm laws for over a year now. Thousands remain camped out on the Delhi-Haryana and Delhi-UP borders, determined not to back down till the centre scraps the laws and assures them the MSP system will continue.The centre has said it will not recall the laws, but has said it is open to a compromise.