Security up in Hisar ahead of farmers' protest

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Chandigarh, May 23 (PTI) The district authorities here stepped up security ahead of a farmers’ protest on Monday.

Farmers had given a call for the protest after the state police booked over 300 of them in connection with a violent clash in the district last Sunday.

Police had lobbed tear gas shells and used force to disperse a group of farmers who had tried to march towards the venue where Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar had gone to inaugurate a COVID hospital.

Farmers' organisations had said they will gherao the Hisar police commissionerate on Monday and demanded action against police personnel who allegedly lathicharged them.

Security has been tightened in Hisar in view of the protest call, officials said.

The district administration appealed to farmers that during the COVID-19 pandemic, they should come forward for talks.

“The solution to the biggest issues is possible only through dialogue,” the administration told farmers, a state government release said.

It said the doors of the district administration are still open for talks.

“It is time to fight against COVID-19 collectively so that this pandemic can be conquered quickly. If discussions are ignored and large crowds continue to gather, the COVID-19 situation will spiral out of control,” the release said.

“An appeal has also been made to the farmers to remain vigilant about their movement as it is suspected that disruptive elements have associated themselves with this movement and they may cause untoward incidents,” it said.

The Haryana Police had registered a case against 350 unidentified protesting farmers for allegedly attacking public servants on duty.

Twenty policemen were injured in the clash between the farmers and police. Scores of farmers have been protesting against the Centre's new farm laws since last November and opposing public functions of BJP-JJP leaders in the state.

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