Tohana incident: Haryana home minister warns protesters taking law into their hands

·3-min read

Chandigarh, Jun 2 (PTI) A day after JJP MLA Devender Singh Babli accused a group of protesting farmers of launching a 'murderous attempt' on him during a protest at Tohana in Fatehabad district, Haryana's Home Minister Anil Vij on Wednesday issued a warning to those taking law into their hands.

'I have said from day one that holding protests in a peaceful manner is their democratic right, but no one is allowed to take law into their hands.

'The way Tuesday's incident unfolded, such things will not be tolerated. Strict action will be taken against those taking law into their hands,' Vij told reporters in Ambala.

When pointed out that the windscreen of the MLA's car was broken and his personal assistant was injured in the incident, he said an FIR has been lodged and details have been recorded.

Vij said he had earlier said the protesters can show black flags standing 200 metres away, but the protest should be peaceful.

'What type of agitation (by farmers) is this that elected representatives are not being allowed to take part in any public function, visit hospitals to enquire about the wellbeing of patients or freely travel to their homes? Such things will not be tolerated,' he said.

Babli, a leader of the Jannayak Janata Party (JJP), a partner of the BJP in the ruling coalition in Haryana, was shown black flags by the protesters in Tohana, following which he accused them of launching a 'murderous attempt' on him and causing injuries to his personal assistant.

He also alleged that some protesters indulged in unruly behaviour, used abusive language and smashed the windscreen of his SUV, while the agitators accused the MLA of hurling abuses at them and sought an apology.

The incident took place when the legislator was on his way to attend an event on administering anti-Covid vaccines to differently-abled people at the civil hospital in Tohana.

Farmers in large numbers took out a march in Tohana on Wednesday, demanding that either Babli apologise or else, police should register an FIR against him for allegedly using abusive language against them.

A motorcycle rally was also taken out in Jind, demanding action against Babli.

In Tohana, the farmers held a protest outside the sub-divisional magistrate's office.

Later, addressing the protesting farmers, Bharatiya Kisan Union's (BKU) Haryana chief Gurnam Singh Chaduni said, 'Babli should apologise and if he fails to do so, an FIR should be registered against him. The police should also withdraw the case lodged against some farmers in connection with Tuesday's incident.' After Tuesday's incident, farmers had blocked the Chandigarh-Tohana road for a few hours.

Babli, the MLA from Tohana, had stopped at a market to make some purchases on Tuesday when the farmers, protesting against the Centre's new farm laws, blocked his vehicle, raised slogans and showed black flags to him.

Several farmer groups in the state have been opposing the public functions of the BJP-JJP leaders.

When pointed out that the farmers are demanding his apology, Babli on Wednesday 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?' 'If such incidents keep happening and elected representatives are targeted like this, how will the common man feel safe?' he asked. PTI SUN VSD RC

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