A day after the arrest of activists of the Bhartiya Kisan Union’s Gurnam Singh Charuni faction for showing black flags to Haryana home minister Anil Vij in Ambala cantonment and detention of around 60 members supporting them on Thursday morning, farmers gathered outside the superintendent of police’s (SP) office, demanding their release.
Police was deployed on both sides of the lane leading to the SP’s office in the Police Lines. Barricades were put up and water cannons parked as the situation turned tense with the farmers, who first gathered at Shambhu border where BKU leader Rakesh Tikait was expected to address them. With Tikait leaving the city after meeting local BKU leaders, including spokesperson Rakesh Bains, the protesters headed for the SP’s office.
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Gulab Singh, BKU district vice-president, claimed that most of those arrested on Wednesday night for showing black flags at Vij were not even present at the spot. “The protest was peaceful, but police roughed up the protesters,” he claimed.
Vij was returning after meeting his ailing personal assistant, Ajay Kumar, at his house in Chanderpuri around 8.30pm when the farmers protested against his visit and raised slogans.
The farmers started gathering at Parao police station, seeking the release of the protesters. The farmers staged a sit-in on National Highway-44 next to Vij’s house.
The impasse continued till Thursday morning and the police detained 60 protesters, including BKU district president Malkit Singh, and took them to the Police Lines.
Inspector Devender Singh, the station in-charge at Parao police station, said: “Those who showed black flags and pelted stones have been booked for damage to public property and related charges. One of the activists, Navdeep Singh Jalbera, has been arrested in an old case at the city police station. Others who were detained are being questioned and will be booked for blocking the highway.”
The farmers have been protesting against BJP leaders and demanding revocation of the three farm laws.