The protesting farmers, who gheraoed the mini-secretariat in Haryana's Karnal on Tuesday, 7 September, could be seen sitting on the road in the vicinity of the secretariat, resting, ANI reported.
"We have captured the gate, want to take some rest, no time for talks, it can happen later," Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait was quoted as saying by ANI.
DC Nishant Kumar Yadav, IG Mamta Singh, SP Gangaram Punia and other senior officers were still holding talks late at night with the protesters so that some positive solutions could be found, ANI reported.
Thousands of protesting farmers had gheraoed the mini-secretariat after the conclusion of the Kisan Mahapanchayat at Anaj Mandi. The farmers then went on to stage a protest in front of the district administration building, IANS reported.
Some protesters allegedly removed the barricades on their way to the mini-secretariat, after which the police used water cannons on them, NDTV reported. The protest resulted in a heavy traffic jam in Karnal.
The farmers began their march to the mini-secretariat after meeting the district officials in the afternoon, which was inconclusive.
The police stopped the protesters at Namaste Chowk but allowed them to move ahead after a short discussion. According to IANS, the protestors were riding on tractors and carrying sticks on their way to the mini-secretariat.
Earlier, activist Yogendra Yadav, Tikait and several other leaders of farm unions were briefly detained.
After several rounds of talks with the local government failed, the protesting farmers reportedly resumed their march from Anaj Mandi to the mini-secretariat in Karnal. The administration had refused to give permission for the march.
Taking to Twitter, activist Yogendra Yadav said that the protesters later started the march on foot.
Bharatiya Kisan Union (Chaduni) Chief Gurnam Singh Chaduni earlier spoke to news agency ANI and said that the talks between the farmer leaders and the Karnal district administration had failed.
An 11-member delegation of farmers, who are protesting the lathicharge inflicted on farmers on 28 August, was in talks with local government officials.
According to an NDTV report, the parties were supposed to discuss the permission for the march, as only the mahapanchayat had been permitted earlier.
"Farmers have called a meeting in Karnal and it is going on. Talk is underway with a recently formed committee of 11 members. I hope a solution will come out of talks," Khattar was quoted as saying earlier in the day, ANI reported.
The national leadership of Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), the umbrella organisation of farmers that is spearheading the protest, had reached Karnal for the event earlier on Tuesday.
"The ground intelligence report indicates that some mischievous elements armed with sticks, iron rods have reached Anaj Mandi, Karnal. District admin and police are warning such mischievous elements not to take the law into their hands & maintain public order," the Haryana Police was quoted as saying by ANI.
Tightened Security in Karnal Ahead of the Mahapanchayat
The Haryana government on Monday had announced the suspension of mobile, internet, and SMS services in the Karnal district, from Monday midnight to 11:59 pm on Tuesday, to maintain law and order ahead of the mahapanchayat.
The government, in its order, said that the telecom services will remain suspended in the adjoining districts of Kurukshetra, Kaithal, Jind, and Panipat as well, in order to check the spread of "inflammatory material and false rumours"
The district administration in Karnal has also imposed Section 144 in its jurisdiction, banning public gatherings of four or more persons.
Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij on Tuesday stated that the state government had made all security arrangements necessary to maintain law and order, ahead of the protest.
"The state administration has made all arrangements (for Kisan Mahapanchayat). No one will be allowed to take the law into their hands. We appeal to our farmer brothers to peacefully conduct their public meeting."Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij
"We want Kisan Mahapanchayat to be conducted peacefully and the conflict to be resolved through mutual conversation. We spoke with farmer leaders yesterday on the matter. Police will take action if law & order is disturbed," Ganga Ram Punia, Superintendent of Police, Karnal, was quoted as saying by ANI.
"District administration and police have made necessary security arrangements in wake of the Kisan Mahapanchayat. A total of 40 companies have been deployed to maintain law and order. Public activities are going on without interruption," Punia added.
The government also announced alternative routes on the Ambala-Delhi National Highway 44.
Why Is the Mahapanchayat Being Held?
The mahapanchayat is being held to protest against the lathicharge on farmers on 28 August, wherein the Karnal Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Ayush Sinha was seen ordering the police to "break the skulls" of protesting farmers, in a video.
The farmers have demanded action against Sinha and the policemen involved in the lathicharge.
The Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), the umbrella body of 40 farmer unions, has been leading the movement over the last nine months and had organised a mahapanchayat in Muzaffarnagar on Sunday, 5 September. The SKM, which had called for a Bharat bandh on 25 September, announced on Sunday that it has been rescheduled to 27 September.
The farmers are asking for a compensation of Rs 25 lakh and a government job for the next of kin of Sushil Kajal, a farmer from Gharunda, who suffered head injuries in the lathicharge and died later owing to a heart attack.
The farmers are also demanding a compensation of Rs 2 lakh each for the wounded persons.
'Demands of Farmers Not Justified': District Magistrate
Karnal District Magistrate Nishant Kumar Yadav, speaking to ANI, had said that the demand of the farmers was not justified, and no action will be taken against IAS officer Sinha.
"We held talks with farmers. Their demand was not justified. No compensation will be given to law violators and no action will be taken against our official. We'll not let them block the highway and gherao mini secretariat (tomorrow)."Karnal District Magistrate Nishant Kumar Yadav, as quoted by ANI
Yadav also issued an advisory asking people to avoid travelling on NH44 as the farmers are expected to take out a protest march there and proceed towards the mini-secretariat.
The farmers, who have been protesting against the three contentious agricultural laws since November 2020, have demanded a complete rollback of the laws, and have pushed for the inclusion of laws that guarantee a minimum support price (MSP) for their crops.
(With inputs from ANI, NDTV and IANS.)