Tribune News Service
Karnal, January 10
The police on Sunday fired tear gas shells and used water cannons to disperse farmers, who stormed the helipad and vandalised the stage, where Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar was to address a ‘kisan mahapanchayat’ to highlight the “benefits” of Centre’s three agriculture laws.
Protesting farmers reached the venue in the afternoon and disrupted the programme. They damaged the stage and broke chairs, tables and flower pots at the venue. The programme was later cancelled.
The farmers also took control over a makeshift helipad where Chief Minister’s helicopter was to land.
Meanwhile, BJP workers, led by local MLA Harvinder Kalyan, also reached the fields near the helipad.
Farmers had, earlier in the day, taken out a march on tractors, SUVs, cars and bikes towards Kaimla village to oppose the Chief Minister’s address.
On their way to the venue, farmers successfully crossed the first barricade installed at Gharaunda on the Kaimla road.
Karnal SP Ganga Ram Punia was seen trying to pacify the farmers but they staged a sit-in near the second barricade as their leaders were busy discussing further strategy.
Police from surrounding districts, led by four SPs and more than 12 DSPs, were deployed at different entry points.
To stall farmers from marching towards Kaimla village, the police had also parked trucks on Kaimla road.
After being stopped by the police, scores of farmers started marching on foot, leaving their vehicles behind, to cross the barricades.
Amidst the chaos, farmer leaders appealed the protestors to maintain discipline.
When the situation got out of hand, the police used tear gas shells to disperse farmers who were marching towards the venue.
Police had made elaborate security arrangements for the Chief Minister’s visit to the village where he was to speak to people to highlight the “benefits” of the Centre’s three farm laws.
Farmers from across the district were, however, adamant on opposing the event.
Some Kaimla villagers and residents of surrounding areas, including Kutail village of local MLA Harvinder Kalyan, earlier today extended support to the protesting farmers at the Bastara toll plaza and said they would also oppose the Chief Minister’s visit.