Farmers gather in Karnal for mahapanchayat, talks with officials ‘fail’

Farmer unions had demanded action against officials over the lathicharge against protesters on August 28 in Karnal

Farmers in large numbers gathered in Karnal for a mahapanchayat as the local authorities braced themselves for a possible gherao of the district headquarters by protesters after talks between farm leaders and officials appeared to yield no result.

Farmer unions had demanded action against officials over the lathicharge against protesters on August 28 in Karnal. Otherwise, they had threatened, farmers will lay siege on the Karnal mini-Secretariat.

As farmers gathered for the mahapanchayat, an 11-member delegation was invited by the local administration to discuss their demands and dissuade them from marching towards the secretariat.

“The administration did not agree to our demands,” Haryana Bhartiya Kisan Union [Chaduni] leader Gurnam Singh Chaduni told reporters three hours after the talks began.

He said the talks had failed to yield results.

“Now, the next course of action will be decided at the mahapanchayat,” he said when asked if the protesters will go ahead with their plan to gherao the district headquarters, a few kilometres away.

BKU leader Rakesh Tikait told reporters that they had demanded the suspension of the IAS officer who was caught on tape allegedly telling policemen to “break heads” of protesting farmers if they crossed the line.

Rakesh Tikait, Balbir Singh Rajewal, Joginder Singh Ugrahan, Darshan Pal and Yogendra Yadav were among the senior Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) leaders who had reached Karnal for the rally being held days after a huge mahapanchayat in Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar.

Farmers from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh have been protesting for months over the three farm laws enacted at the Centre, claiming that the legislation will lead to the erosion of the minimum support price (MSP) system.

Deputy Commissioner Nishant Kumar Yadav, Karnal’s Inspector General of Police Mamta Singh and Superintendent of Police Ganga Ram Punia, were among the officials who took part in the talks with the farm leaders.

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