The BJP government in the state has come under sharp criticism from all sides, facing the threat of renewed protests from furious farmers.
The video reveals the area sub-divisional magistrate, Ayush Sinha, directing cops to crack the skulls of those trying to breach the barricades put up around the meeting venue. The video was shared by several prominent citizens, “Sar phod do (Smash their heads),” he was shockingly heard telling the police.
The Manohar Lal Khattar government in Haryana on Sunday assembled an emergency meeting of ministers and senior officials to discuss the situation arising out of the violent lathi-charge on farmers protesting against a Bharatiya Janata Party meeting on Saturday.
👉Here's the shocking video proof
👉Caught on camera- Farmers beaten mercilessly in Haryana's Karnal
👉They were protesting against CM
👉Many are bleeding from head including those aged 70+
— Saahil Murli Menghani (@saahilmenghani) August 28, 2021
👉Lathicharge on farmers in Karnal
👉Many farmers are bleeding
👉Farmers as old as 70 years beaten mercilessly
👉Farmers were protesting against CM @mlkhattar
👉Farmer have now given a call to block Haryana
— Saahil Murli Menghani (@saahilmenghani) August 28, 2021
The vicious attack on farmers has allegedly led to the loss of life of one farmer during the police lathi-charge. The Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Mazdoor Sabha claimed that the man, identified as Sushil Kajal, a resident of Rampur Jata village, was injured in the violence and succumbed to his injuries.
Rahul Gandhi Congress leader tweeted: Translated from Hindi
Then the blood of the farmer is shed,
India bowed its head in shame!
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) August 28, 2021
BJP is under severe condemnation as the official’s ‘smash heads’ video goes viral and even Varun Gandhi from BJP said “I hope this video is edited and the DM did not say this… Otherwise, this is unacceptable in democratic India to do to our own citizens.”
I hope this video is edited and the DM did not say this… Otherwise, this is unacceptable in democratic India to do to our own citizens. pic.twitter.com/rWRFSD2FRH
— Varun Gandhi (@varungandhi80) August 28, 2021
When confronted by media persons about his vicious commands, Sinha did not deny his saying so and added that he only acted in accordance with provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
The video, as well as the fact that a large number of farmers sustained serious injuries as the police lathi-charged them to prevent them from reaching the Prem Plaza Hotel (venue of the BJP meeting), where chief minister Khattar and state BJP president Om Prakash Dhankar and other senior leaders of the party were present, has now caused a great deal of embarrassment and consternation in the government.
Farmers were beaten up 15 km from the meeting venue
The police attacked the farmers at the Bastara toll plaza, about 15 km from the venue, as they headed towards the hotel. The brutal attack on the farmers by the police was recorded and widely shared on social media, leading to more protests across the state.
Following the incident, farmers came out on several state and national highways and stopped traffic movement. The roads on which traffic flow was disrupted included the Ambala-Chandigarh and Hisar-Chandigarh national highways, and the Fatehabad-Chandigarh, Gohana-Panipat, and the Jind-Patiala highways.
However, Khattar defended the police action, saying the farmers should have protested peacefully. “Putting obstruction in official work is against democracy. If the protesters wanted to protest, they should have done it peacefully,” he said.
Khattar further argued that the police have the responsibility to keep the highways and roads open and to maintain law and order. “If they jam highways and throw stones at police, then the police will also take steps to maintain law and order. We will look into the episode and take necessary action,” he had said.
Opposition asks for a judicial inquiry
Former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda called a press conference to discuss the lathi-charge on the farmers in which he criticized the police action. “We condemn the violence against the farmers and demand a judicial inquiry into the incident,” he said.
Hooda insisted that the use of the ‘lathi’ or cane was not the solution to any problem. “How an officer issued such directions needs to be probed.” He also questioned how an administrative official could issue such direct instructions to the cops when that was the sole prerogative of the police officers.
Meanwhile, Shiromani Akali Dal leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa today demanded that cases of murder be registered against the SDM and other government officials responsible for the attack on the farmers.
The Congress has also called for a judicial inquiry into the incident. Congress president Rahul Gandhi tweeted that the head of the nation hangs in shame as the blood of the farmers has been shed.
Meanwhile, the Samyukt Kisan Morcha has also called for a Bharat Bandh over the issue on September 25. The organization leaders said this time they would constitute units in all villages and tehsils to strengthen the movement and to ensure a broader participation of farmers in the agitation, which has been on since November 25, 2020, when the Centre passed the three controversial farm laws.
Meanwhile, trying to shift the blame away from the government, Jannayak Janata Party leader and Haryana deputy chief minister Dushyant Chautala assured action against SDM Sinha. He insisted that it was wrong on behalf of the official to issue such directions to the police.
It is the opinion of most that Ayush Sinha should be charged for murder because he openly ordered the farmers’ heads to be broken and one farmer lost his life.