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The Haryana police on Sunday lathicharged and lobbed tear gas shells to disperse a group of farmers protesting chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar’s visit to Hisar to inaugurate a Covid-19 hospital. At least 20 police personnel and several farmers were injured in the clashes, officials said.
Farmers blocked the Delhi-Chandigarh National Highway 44 at Bastara in Karnal, the Hisar-Chandigarh highway in Kaithal, Kurukshetra-Pehowa-Paitala, Kurukshetra-Kaithal highway, NH-44 on Ambala-Patiala border , NH-73 on Ambala-Yamunanagar highway and toll plazas in Karnal, Panipat and Shahbad, for two hours from 5pm to 7pm, forcing the authorities to divert traffic to link roads.
“Why did the CM have to visit Hisar to inaugurate the hospital, he could have done it virtually,” asked Haryana Bharat Kisan Union (Charuni) president, Gurnam Singh Charuni.
“The police resorted to lathicharge and used tear gas shells, besides using plastic bullets to disperse the farmers in Hisar. Many farmers received injuries,” Charuni said, alleging that despite the state restricting gatherings hundreds of people were allowed to gather for the hospital inauguration.
Khattar inaugurated the newly built 500-bedded Chaudhary Devi Lal Sanjeevani COVID Hospital in Hisar and farmers were stopped before they could reach the venue, the police said.
Karnal superintendent of police Ganga Ram Punia said that traffic had been diverted from the NH 44 via link roads. He said that there were no reports of violence, but the police have been deployed to deal with any law-and-order situation.
Hisar police spokesperson Vikas Kumar said a group started pelting stones at policemen, which led to the confrontation in which a few people, both farmers and policemen, got injured.
At least 20 police personnel, including five women, were injured during the clash with farmers in Hisar, officials said.
“The miscreants broke the barricade installed on the canal bridge and threw it into the water. They also attacked DSP Abhimanyu Lohan under the Jindal overbridge. The injured cops are being treated at the civil hospital,” a police spokesperson said.
Charuni said the farm leaders had called a meeting at Hisar to decide further course of action.
“ We will clear the road for ambulances, military convoys, fire brigade and tankers carrying oxygen. Farmers from Ramayana toll plaza will start marching towards the office of the Hisar IG and if our grievances are not accepted, we will start a dharna outside police stations across the state,” Charuni added.
BKU leader Rakesh Tikait said they had asked the Hisar IG to release 85 farmers detained by the police.