Congress petitions NHRC on lathi-charge against farmers

Congress petitions NHRC on lathi-charge against farmers

'Be it Kurukshetra, Hisar or Karnal, the Khattar government had responded to black flags (protests against it) through batons'

Haryana Congress submits a memorandum to NHRC against lathicharge on farmers in Karnal. Credit: Twitter/@kumari_selja

Ratcheting up the issue of the police lathicharge in which 10 farmers were injured and one of them later died allegedly due to a heart attack, Congress on Tuesday met Haryana Governor Bandaru Dattatreya seeking a judicial probe and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in Delhi for lodging case under the Indian Penal Code against the perpetrators.

Both the delegations, one led by former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda to the Governor and the other by state Congress chief Kumari Selja to the NHRC, in particular, raised the issue of an IAS officer asking cops to "break farmers' heads by hitting them with a lathi."

The party also launched a campaign on social media under the hashtag 'KisanDrohi (anti-farmer) BJP', slamming Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar for his remarks justifying the "strict" action to maintain law and order and asked "Strictness needed for what Mr Khattar?"

Read | Police lathi-charge protesting farmers near Karnal; 10 injured

While Hooda submitted a video clip to the Governor in which the official was directing the cops to stop the farmers from moving towards a BJP meeting venue and hit them with lathis, the party in its petition to the NHRC rued that "cops followed his (Hooda's) illegal order and hit the farmers in the head with the intention to kill them".

Hooda demanded from the Governor a judicial inquiry into the lathicharge by a sitting judge of the High Court or a retired judge.

"Be it Kurushetra, Hisar or Karnal, the Khattar government had responded to black flags (protests against it) through batons. It's the farmer's blood that has been spilled everywhere. This was done in this case without any provocation. An officer gave an order, which cannot be allowed in a democracy. If the government itself violates human rights, what remains then. We have demanded from NHRC strict action in the matter," Kumari Selja said, seeking action from NHRC under specific provisions for the lathicharge of farmers.

Also Read | Haryana CM Khattar dares Punjab CM Amarinder Singh to list out pro-farmer measures

The Congress petition accused the government and the administration of having committed a "cognisable offence" and sought action against those responsible under various sections of IPC.

Sharing photos of injured farmers, Haryana Congress tweeted "shameful: bloodletting system of Khattar" and hit out at both Chief Minister Khattar and Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala from Jannayak Janata Party amid a seemingly conflicting stand between the two on the role of the officer who gave the order, asking cops to break the head of agitating farmers.

While Deputyy CM Chautala had termed the action of the IAS officer as 'condemnable' and assured action against him, Chief Minister Khattar defended the lathicharge, saying strict action is taken sometimes to maintain law and order.

"If they hurl stones at police, block highways, then the police will take steps to maintain law and order," Khattar had said.

AICC communication department Chairman Randeep Surjewala shared video clips of Chautala's remarks strongly backing farmers before joining the BJP-led government in Haryana and correspondingly questioning the conduct of protesting farmers after joining the government and asked whether it was the lure of power that made him change his stance.

Congress, which has launched a relentless attack on the BJP-JJP government, calling it "General Dyer government" asked on Tuesday: "For what tough action needed? Has the BJP government decided to bleed the farmers?"

Selja shared a screenshot of Khattar's media byte justifying the "tough action" and said, "this is very unfortunate. Such inhuman behaviour is a sign of your arrogance".

The party leaders commented on the hashtag 'Kisan Drohi (anti-farmer) BJP.' Vivek Bansal said, "get the farm laws annulled instead of suppressing the voice of farmers with lathicharge".

BJP has repeatedly accused the Congress government in Punjab of fuelling farmers' unrest in his state and on Monday the Haryana CM had directly put the blame on Congress Chief Minister of Punjab Captain Amarinder Singh.

Congress has gone into a campaign mode after the August 28 lathicharge in which 10 farmers were injured in police lathicharge while marching towards Karnal in Haryana to protest against a BJP meeting being attended by Chief Minister Khattar.

The Congress also urged the Governor not to give his nod to the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Bill, 2021 passed by the state Assembly in the Monsoon session, calling it "anti-farmer".

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