Won’t be bullied, asserts Haryana minister Anil Vij on Karnal protest
Farmers have been protesting against a lathicharge on August 28 in which 10 people were injured when police used force to stop them from marching to the venue of a BJP event in Karnal.
CHANDIGARH: On day-three of the farmers’ dharna in Karnal demanding action against the then Sub Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Ayush Sinha, state home minister Anil Vij on Thursday said while the government was ready to hold an inquiry into the lathi-charge, it would not give in to pressure tactics.
The suspension of mobile Internet services in the district was extended till Thursday midnight as the impasse seemed likely to extend, with the farmers staying firm on their demand for action against Sinha. “The government is ready for an impartial probe, but this will not be confined to only former Karnal SDM Ayush Sinha, but the entire episode. If farmers or their leaders are found guilty, then whatever action is deemed fit will be taken,” said Vij.
READ EDITORIAL | Need to find middle ground to resolve farmers’ agitation
Referring to demands of suspending the 2018 batch IAS officer, Vij said, “We cannot hang anyone just because someone says so. Are Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the farmers’ IPC different? It cannot be like this. Punishment is always given according to the offence committed. To find out the offence, a probe has to be conducted.”
Vij categorically said the government would heed only to genuine demands of farmers, but added negotiations are on. “We respect the farmers’ right to protest. Our officials are regularly holding talks with them. Dialogue is an integral part of democracy,” the state home minister said.
Farmer leader and BKU Haryana president Gurnam Singh Chaduni said no official outreach happened on Thursday, while Wednesday’s talks were inconclusive. He said the dharna would continue till their demands were met, and added SKM leaders would hold a meeting in Karnal on September 11 to chalk out their course of action.
While Chaduni stood firm in his demand for the suspension of the IAS officer, Karnal Deputy Commissioner Nishant Kumar Yadav insisted on talks. “We invited them for talks, but they are adamant on Sinha’s suspension. We told them there are rules to follow before acting against any official. Without an investigation, no official can be suspended,” he said.