Punjab urges Centre to maintain order amid Haryana police injuring 160 farmers

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had issued an advisory to the Punjab government on Wednesday, expressing concern over the “deteriorating” law-and-order situation in the state.

| Updated: 21 February, 2024 6:54 pm IST

NEW DELHI: The Punjab government has strongly denied the allegation that it is letting farmers gather at the borders to protest for the legal right to guaranteed Minimum Support Price (MSP). It said that it has been maintaining law and order “with responsibility” despite the use of force by the Haryana Police against the protesters.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had issued an advisory to the Punjab government on Wednesday, expressing concern over the “deteriorating” law-and-order situation in the state. It had asked the state to take action against the farmers who were blocking the roads with tractor-trolleys and other vehicles.

READ MORE : Centre appeals for talks amid farmers’ protest; tear gas deployed by Haryana Police

In a letter to the MHA, Punjab Chief Secretary Anurag Verma said that the state government had not received the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, which had directed the farmers not to use tractor-trolleys on the road. He said that the order was not available on the court’s website either.

He said that the farmers were heading to Delhi to exercise their democratic right to protest and were stopped by the Haryana Police at the border. He said that more than 160 people had been injured by tear gas shells, rubber bullets, drones, and physical force used by the Haryana Police.

“Even after that, the Punjab government has maintained the law and order situation with responsibility,” he said.

He also urged the MHA to show more sympathy towards the farmers and handle the situation sensitively, as Punjab is a border state.

He said that the Punjab government had been actively involved in the talks between the Centre and the farmers. He said that Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann had attended three of the four meetings and had sent a Cabinet minister and senior officials to the fourth one.

He said, “At least, 2,000 policemen, including DIG-rank IPS and Provincial Police Service officers, were deployed to ensure peace and order. The state government was monitoring the situation and would take necessary steps.”

Meanwhile, the farmers clashed with the Haryana Police again at the Shambhu border on Wednesday, as they tried to resume their ‘Delhi Chalo’ march. The farmers demanded a legal guarantee for minimum support price. The Haryana Police warned the farmers to stop their agitation and clear the roads.

READ MORE : Delhi Chalo protests: Who are farmer leaders steering this movement?

Agriculture Minister Arjun Munda appealed to the farmers to return to the dialogue table for the fifth round of talks. He warned against “unruly elements” trying to “hijack talks” and asked the protesters to remain peaceful.

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