In an apparent reference to the farmers stir against the Centre's new farm laws, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Tuesday said that one has the freedom to agitate, but not to spread anarchy.
In his Republic Day address after hoisting the tricolour during a function in Panchkula, Khattar said the Constitution talks about rights, but these rights do not give us the “freedom to do anything”.
All citizens have to abide by the Constitution, he said.
Without directly mentioning the farmers' protest, the chief minister said, “We are a democracy… On Republic Day, we got our Constitution. The Constitution makers talked about various rights with which we can make our lives happier. But I want to remind one thing that under the Constitution, both our rights and duties have been mentioned.
“... Our rights do not mean that we can do anything, there are some limits. And through these limits, we should remember that the Constitution which we have accepted, it becomes our responsibility to abide by it,” he said.
Khattar also cautioned against exercising the fundamental rights without taking into account the duties that come with them.
“We have the right to freedom of speech and expression and we must use it, but that does not mean we will use it to abuse anyone. We should not hurt anyone's sentiments or insult anyone. We have the freedom to live our lives, but this does not mean we will do any such act which causes harm to anyone else's life.
“Therefore, while we have the freedom to do agitation, it does not mean we have the freedom to take this agitation to anarchy,” he asserted.
Notably, the Haryana CM has been targeted by farmer unions for supporting the new farm laws enacted by the Centre in September last year.
Earlier this month, protesters had vandalised the venue of the kisan mahapanchayat the chief minister had planned to address in support of the laws in Karnal.
Thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, have been camping at several Delhi border points since November 28, demanding a complete repeal of the three farm laws and a legal guarantee on minimum support price (MSP) for their crops.
During his Republic Day address, Khattar touched upon several “pro-farmer” initiatives taken by the BJP-led state government over the past six years.
“As far as procurement is concerned, Haryana is one such state which is procuring nine crops on its own at MSP. No other state has done so. In addition to wheat and paddy, be it cotton, bajra, maize, groundnut or moong, we are procuring these crops at MSP,” he said.
Under the 'Mera Pani Meri Virasat’ crop diversification scheme, the CM said 80,000 acres of land under paddy cultivation have been given up and farmers were now sowing other crops.
He said the state has taken several steps to ensure that farmers get payment of their crops directly into their bank accounts, adding that 50 per cent of peasants were availing this benefit.