Farmers gherao BJP MP in Haryana, smash car windscreen

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Kurukshetra (Haryana), Apr 6 (PTI) Protesting farmers on Tuesday blocked a BJP MP's car, smashing its windscreen as he tried to leave a party worker's home, police said.

Kurukshetra MP Nayab Singh Saini said police had a tough time getting him away from the protesters at Shahbad Markanda, 20 kms from here.

In two separate incidents, groups of farmers raised slogans against Women and Child Development Minister Kamlesh Dhanda in Kaithal district and state BJP chief O P Dhankar shortly before he was to arrive for a party event in Panipat.

Describing the attack on Saini as 'murderous', Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said while it is the democratic right of farmers to hold a protest, violence will not be tolerated.

Farmers protesting over the three new farm laws were sitting on a 'dharna' in front of Jannayak Janta Party MLA Ram Karan Kala's home when they learnt that Saini had reached a BJP worker's home in nearby Majri mohalla.

They then gathered outside the BJP worker's home while Saini had tea inside, police said.

According to Saini, when he sat in the vehicle and tried to leave the place, over 50 protesters 'gheraoed' it. A few of them jumped over the vehicle's bonnet while someone smashed the windscreen with a stone or a lathi.

He said it was with great difficulty that the police got him out of the area in the SUV.

The MP said those who indulge in acts of violence against elected representatives cannot be farmers. Such people are defaming farmers, he added.

Police were deployed in large numbers in the area after the incident.

Kurukshetra Superintendent of Police Himanshu Garg said police are investigating the matter and would file a case against those found responsible for the violence.

In another incident, a group of farmers raised slogans when Women and Child Development Minister Kamlesh Dhanda's cavalcade was passing through Kaithal district to attend an event in a village.

Another group of farmers raised slogans against state BJP chief Dhankar shortly before he was to arrive for a party event in Panipat. The police had to take an alternate route to make him reach the event venue.

On the Kurukshetra incident, Khattar said, 'It was a murderous attack on the MP. This is not a small incident.' The farmers have been saying they will hold a peaceful protest, which is their democratic right, but any incident of violence will not be tolerated, the chief minister told reporters in Chandigarh.

Asked about farmer leaders' call for the boycott of BJP-JJP leaders, Khattar targeted the opposition parties, saying they have not condemned this, 'which means they are extending their silent support (to the boycott call)'.

Tuesday's incidents are the latest in a series of protests by farmers against ruling BJP-JJP coalition leaders in Haryana.

On Saturday, farmers had held a protest against Khattar in Rohtak, resulting in a lathicharge by the police and forcing authorities to shift the landing site for his helicopter.

Asked about the Rohtak incident, Khattar said, 'I have got video clippings. Was it a peaceful protest? When you see the clips you will understand.' On the police action against the protesters, he said, 'They tried to clash with the police. The police will have to take some steps in self-defence. Will they sit silent when stones are being pelted at them? Three cops were injured in the incident. Those who claim protests will remain peaceful should ensure they remain so.' Notably, farmers also held a protest last week against Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala outside the Hisar airport.

Farmer leaders have said they would continue their 'peaceful social boycott' of leaders from the BJP and its allies.

The Centre says the new farm laws will free farmers from middlemen, giving them more options to sell their crops.

The protesting farmers, however, say the laws will weaken the minimum support price (MSP) system and leave them at the mercy of big corporates. PTI CORR SUN VSD DIV DIV