Tohana: 2 Farmers Released; Gherao of Police Stations Called off

At lease two agitating farmers were held in Haryana’s Tohana after an altercation with an MLA that led to an unrest.

3 min read
BKU spokesperson Rakesh Tikait and others stage a protest against Centre’s three farm laws, at Tohana in Haryana’s Fatehabad district on Sunday, June 6.

After days of unrest in Haryana’s Tohana over the arrest of two farmers following a stand-off with an MLA, the two were released on bail on Sunday, 6 June, with the farmer’s union deciding to withdraw the call for gherao at police stations.

The release of the farmers comes just a day after MLA Devendra Singh Babli apologised on Saturday, for the alleged abusive comments he made during a run-in with the farmers in Tohana town on 1 June, while they were protesting the Centre's controversial farm laws.

“We have decided to no longer gherao the Tohana police station. One more person is still in jail, (and a) meeting is underway with the police administration to release him,” Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait, who led the gherao told ANI.

However, the protests in Tohana, led by the Sanyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) will continue.


What Happened on 1 June?

Denying the use of abusive language, Babli, after a face off with farmers in Tohana’s market, had alleged that the farmers made a "murderous attempt” on him, injured his assistant and claimed that his vehicle was hit thrice.

Later on Tuesday, two FIRs had been registered against the farmers in connection with surrounding Babli’s vehicle and for manhandling the MLA.

This led to another stand-off after farmers surrounded Babli’s home the following day. Another FIR was registered and around 30 protesters were taken into custody by the local police, news agency PTI reported.

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar had said on Thursday, as per PTI: “If any protest is held in a peaceful manner, the government has no objection to it. However, if anyone takes law and order into one's hands, that will not be tolerated.”

What Did Babli Say in His Apology?

Babli’s apology came after farm leaders Rakesh Tikait and Gurnam Singh Chaduni led hundreds of farmers to the Tohana police station under the banner of the Sanyukta Kisan Morcha, on early Saturday.

“Whatever happened when I came on 1 June, with the people who attacked me, I personally forgive them. During the incident, the words that I spoke don’t suit me, as I’m a public representative. I take back my words and express my apology,” he said in his apology video. Babli is an MLA of the JJP – which is allied with the BJP.

Tikait, meanwhile, was quoted by NDTV as saying, “It is good that the MLA has apologised... Now the (farmers’) committee is negotiating with the MLA and will take further decisions.”


How the Unrest Unfolded

After the arrests took place, Tikait and Chaduni reached Fatehabad and announced that they would also offer their arrest if the FIRs registered against farmers were not withdrawn and all those who were arrested or detained were not released.

On Saturday, while marking Sampoorna Kranti Diwas – completion of one year since the three contentious farm bills were passed – the protesting farmers had announced that they would surround police stations across Haryana if the MLA did not apologise for his abusive comments.

They also brought a cow to the protest site at the police station, claiming that it was the “41st witness” to the arrests of the farmers, NDTV reported.

Farmers, during Saturday’s protest, burnt copies of the farm legislation outside the residences of several MPs and MLAs, including those of Dushyant Chautala and MP Sunita Duggal in Sirsa, Hisar MP Brijendra Singh (son of former Union minister Birender Singh) in Jind, Bhiwani MP Dharambir Singh, and JJP MLA from Badhra, Naina Chautala, The Indian Express reported.

Farmers had also observed ‘Black Day’ on Wednesday, 26 May, holding protests at various places, including the Ghazipur, Singhu, and Tikri borders as well as Punjab, where people of Chabba village put up black flags at their houses and on their tractors.

(With inputs from PTI, NDTV and The Indian Express)

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