Sandeep Singh: The Siege Of Karnal’s Mini Secretariat 

The energy in the crowd is noticeable as more and more come to join the demonstration. Mimicking energy which was first seen at the borders of Delhi in the early days of the Farmers’ Protest. 

Sandeep Singh
September 8, 2021 | 3 min. read | Original Reporting

Heavy rain, the imposition of Section 144, and the suspension of internet services in districts surrounding Karnal, Haryana, has not stopped more than 10,000 farmers protesting outside the city’s Mini Secretariat.

Demonstrators are demanding justice for victims of the local police’s lathi charge against farmers on August 27-28, 2021, that were protesting the visit of Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar. Police and state violence resulted in the death of Sushil Kajla and serious injuries to many other. 

Farmers are also demanding the suspension of Sub-Divisional Magistrate Ayush Sinha, who was seen on video instructing police to engage in indiscriminate violence, as well as providing specific instructions to break and smash heads. 

Haryana Police had made special arrangements to stop farmers from gathering in the city for the latest protest.

Most of the roads to Karnal were blocked with trucks and water cannons were also deployed. Haryana police and paramilitary were marching on the streets as well. However, much like Delhi Chalo from November last year, the barricades proved futile in stopping farmers. 

Government officials sent an offer to chat once the farmers reached the local grain market, and a committee was formed to speak to administrators and demand answers for the police’s actions and why Sinha continues to be protected by the state. 

Yogendra Yadav told farmers to raise slogans loudly so that voice of farmers reaches Karnal’s Mini Secretariat, which the farmers had originally threatened to gherao on September 7. 

Sarabajit Singh, from Pehowa of Haryana, traveled 70 KM and arrived with his friends to join the protest. 

“We are here to demand justice for our fellow farmers, one of which died due to police action. CM Khattar should have paid a tribute to the farmer but he has not spoken even a single word on the issue.”

Farm leaders have demanded 25 lakh rupees compensation for Sushil’s family. Leaders also called for two lakh rupees compensation to each injured farmer in police action.

Sucha Singh, from the Shahabad area, was seen holding a farm union flag and clicking pictures at the protest site in Karnal.

“We went to Muzaffarnagar on September 5 and today we are here to tell the government that till it does not fulfill our demands we are not going back to our homes.”

Singh referred to the Khattar regime as “Talibani” for its brutal treatment of farmers. 

“They can suspend the internet but they can’t lock down people inside their homes.”

While union leaders were addressing farmers more and more jathas were coming to join the protest. 

The energy in the crowd is noticeable as more and more come to join the demonstration. Mimicking energy which was first seen at the borders of Delhi in the early days of the Farmers’ Protest. 

Gurnam Singh Chaduni told farmers to stay in the discipline as the RAF has arrived, Haryana police has been deployed, and CRPF are on roads. However, that did not stop farmers from removing barricades in a march towards the Mini Secretariat. 

Police had forcibly stopped Trucks which were then made to park on roads leading to the Mini Secretariat in an attempt to stop the progress of protestors.

Sahbej, a young truck driver from UP’s Shamli, told us that he was stopped the night of September 6 when he was on his way to Delhi. His truck was loaded with sand. When we talked to him he was neither provided food and nor water by the police.

Shahbej claimed that his truck’s owner will have to bear losses of nearly 12,000 rupees due to police action.

Another truck driver, 45-year-old Shiv Kumar, told us that he too was stopped on the road when he was on his way to supply construction material. Shiv claimed that due to the police’s forced action his full day have gone to waste. 

Defiance of the state is growing in the protest.

Karnal’s top police officials were seen in the grain market. They were met with protestors as their presence became known. For about 20 minutes slogans of “police prashasan murdabad” rang and the officials could not find a route out. After many appeals from junior farm leaders, farmers allowed the officials to leave.

Union leaders remain firm on their requests, as they continue to meet government officials. So far the government has refused to meet those demands and the siege of Karnal’s Mini Secretariat will continue.

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Sandeep Singh hails from Machhiwara, Punjab. As an independent journalist, he has worked with many prominent Indian news organizations. Sandeep has been following the farmer’s protest in Punjab since its onset and traveled with them to Delhi. He spends most of his time at the Singhu border protest site. You can follow Sandeep on Twitter @Punyaab


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