1000s of farmers reach Hisar to protest against FIR against around 350 of them

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Hisar, May 24 (PTI) Thousands of farmers reached Hisar on Monday responding to their leaders’ calls to protest against the registration of a criminal case against several of them during their clash with police last week after the inauguration of a Covid hospital here.

The Haryana police had lodged a criminal case against around 350 unnamed farmers for allegedly attacking government employees and stone-pelting during the protest against Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar shortly after he inaugurated a Covid hospital there last week.

The farmers, who reached here from Hisar and many adjoining districts including Jind, Rohtak, Bhiwani, Karnal and Sonipat, gathered at Krantiman Park to demand the withdrawal of the case, lodged under the various heinous section, including the attempt to murder against farmers.

Several farmer leaders, including Rakesh Tikait, Joginder Singh Ugrahan and Gurnam Singh Chaduni also reached Hisar.

As some farmer leaders were addressing the protesters here, the Hisar sub-divisional magistrate approached them, inviting them for talks with the administration.

Responding to the invite, Tikait, Chaduni and other farmer leaders reached the district's mini secretariat for talks.

Talking to reporters earlier, farmer leaders demanded the quashing of the case against farmers.

Referring to the May 16 incident here, Tikait said senior police officials had assured that no case would be registered against farmers, but they went back on their words later.

After the registration of a case against them after the May 16 incident, farmer organisations had said they would gherao the Hisar police commissionerate on Monday to demand the withdrawal of the case and action against police personnel who allegedly lathi-charged them.

Farmers reached Hisar on Monday by buses, tractor-trolleys and other vehicles, leading to various roads in the city getting blocked during their arrival.

Ahead of farmers descending upon the city on Monday, Hisar was turned into a fortress with multi-layered security cordons thrown around vital installations like mini-secretariat, offices and residences of senior government and police officials in the city on Sunday.

The administration had deployed a large number of police personnel, including those from the Rapid Action Force (RAF), to deal with any untoward incident at various places in the city, police sources said.

A large number of farmers, including some women too, began arriving at Krantiman Park from the Monday morning itself.

Waving tricolours and their union flags, farmers also raised slogans against the government and the three central farm laws.

The district administration earlier on Sunday too had appealed to farmers to come forward for talks, shunning demonstration amid the grim pandemic.

Twenty policemen were injured in the clash between the farmers and police on May 16.

The police had on Thursday clarified that only tear gas was used first and then a mild force was used at the magistrate's order to protect the hospital from sabotage and to maintain law and order. PTI CORR SUN VSD RAX RAX

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