No objection to peaceful protests, but can’t tolerate breaking law: Khattar

·4-min read

Chandigarh, Jun 3 (PTI) Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Thursday said his government has no objection to holding peaceful protests but those taking law into their own hands will be dealt with strictly.

Farmer groups have been protesting in the state alleging that JJP legislator Devender Singh Babli used abusive language against them when they were protesting in Tohana in Fatehabad district on Tuesday.

However, Babli has denied the charges and instead accused a group of protesting farmers of launching a 'murderous attempt' on him during their protest in Tohana city.

On Thursday, a group of farmers held a protest in Fatehabad against Babli and burnt his effigy, demanding that the MLA should apologise for his “comments”.

Khattar, who was interacting with reporters here after holding a meeting with deputy commissioners on Covid situation and steps taken for its management, while replying to a question said “DCs (deputy commissioners) have been told that 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. And whatever action needs to be taken as per law in those cases, the DCs have been told not to hesitate and take action,” he added.

On Wednesday, Haryana's Home Minister Anil Vij had also issued a warning to those protestors taking the law into their own hands.

A group of protesters had tried to march towards Babli's residence in Tohana on Wednesday evening but were stopped by the heavy police contingent deployed there. Around 25-30 protestors were taken into custody by police.

Police said the protesters were released later.

A farmer leader told reporters in Fatehabad on Thursday that the MLA had allegedly publicly used abusive language and threatened farmers.

He also claimed that three farmer leaders had been detained by the Fatehabad police after the incident.

On June 5, he said, farmers will burn copies of “black farm laws” outside the residence of MLAs and MPs of the BJP and the JJP in the state.

Several farmer groups in the state have been opposing the public functions of the BJP-JJP leaders over the three controversial agriculture laws of the Centre. They are demanding that the three laws be repealed.

On Thursday, a group of farmers held a protest and blocked a highway near Titram chowk in Kaithal for about two hours demanding that Babli should apologise, or a case be registered against him.

Protesting farmers in Haryana had on Wednesday said they will gherao all police stations across the state on June 7 if Babli did not tender an apology by June 6 for his remarks.

About protesters who tried to gherao Babli's residence on Wednesday evening, Haryana BKU chief Gurnam Singh Chaduni had said there was no call for that and some people had gone there on their own.

He had said there are a handful of people who want to bring a bad name to the agitation and become heroes.

Addressing small gatherings of protesting farmers on Thursday in Jind district, Chaduni appealed to them to abide by the call given by Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) and hold protests peacefully.

Appealing to the protesting farmers, especially the youth, to ensure that agitation continues in a peaceful manner, he urged them to draw lessons from agitations in the past which came to an abrupt end over incidents of violence.

“We don't have to take any such step which will break this (farmers') agitation. This agitation is at that stage that one small lapse can cost us heavily. We have to continue this agitation in a peaceful manner.

“Everyone has to follow the collective decision. The government may use force or try to create a situation to break this agitation, but we will continue to protest peacefully,” Chaduni said.

JJP MLA Babli had earlier said, 'Some unruly elements tried to make a murderous attempt on me, hit my vehicle three times, my personal assistant was injured and they are demanding my apology. Is there a 'goonda raj' in the state?' He had denied that he used any abusive language against the farmers.

The Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) and The BJP are in a coalition government in Haryana. PTI SUN VSD AQS AQS

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