The brutal use of force by Haryana Police on agitating farmers at Bastara toll plaza near Karnal is all set to have a cascading impact in the days to come.

Not only is it expected to trigger a large-scale intensification of the ongoing farmers' movement against the controversial farm laws across the states but it is also going to have political ramifications in the poll bound states of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Punjab. More so, as it has further consolidated the movement in the immediate aftermath of the lathi charge, with a video of the local SDM directing the police to break the heads of the farmers if they did not disperse, adding fuel to the growing fire.

The farmers view the police violence against them as a “desperate” attempt by the Manohar Lal Khattar led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) – Jananayak Janata Party (JJP) government in Haryana to break its political isolation.

They also see it as a larger design of the government to defame the farmers’ movement. They believe that the call given by the farmers for a show of strength at Muzaffarnagar in western Uttar Pradesh has rattled the BJP leadership.

As widely reported, the police resorted to a brutal lathi charge on the farmers who had gathered at the Bastara toll plaza to protest against Khattar and other leaders by shouting slogans and showing black flags. The farmers have been carrying out similar protests at various places in the region against the BJP leaders.

Khattar was scheduled to have a meeting with BJP leaders in a hotel in Karnal ahead of the local body polls.

“We had informed the administration about our plan to hold a peaceful protest on Friday evening. But we woke up on Saturday to find all the entry points to Karnal blocked with trucks and dumpers. The situation was such that people faced great difficulty to carry out their daily chores like supplying milk or to go to the hospitals.

Thereafter we gathered at the toll plaza and again appraised the administration of holding a peaceful protest. The officials told us that we could protest on the road for a brief while but just as we stepped on the road there was the unprovoked use of force against us with the Police not even bothering where they were hitting the farmers,” said Paramjit Singh, a local farmer leader who was seriously injured and is now detained by the police.

He told this reporter, “The violence was unleashed against us as a preplanned strategy. There is a video clip of the local Sub Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Ayush Sinha asking the police personnel to break the heads of the farmers and use brutal force on them. Two of the protesters with me were hit on their noses while four sustained severe injuries on their shoulders.”

There were also videos of Sinha justifying the use of force saying that every action was taken as per the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).

A statement released by Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Navdeep Virk said that when the Police tried to stop the farmers from blocking the national highway and moving towards Karnal, the latter became aggressive and attacked the Police by pelting stones and using farm implements.

The statement further added that this led to the police using ‘mild force’ that led to four farmers and 10 police personnel getting injured. The statement also held the farmers responsible for breaking an agreement reached at Tohana on June 7 where they had promised that they would not become aggressive during any demonstration.

The agitated farmers circulated videos of their injured comrades exhorting the people to come out and blockade the roads all across Haryana. Even senior leaders of the movement gave calls for blocking every road and toll plaza till those detained by the police were released. The roads were opened late in the evening after the demand was met.

The farmers have announced that they will continue to hold demonstrations seeking dismissal of the SDM who ordered the use of force against their peaceful protest, saying that he has no right to be a part of the administrative services with this kind of mindset.

Senior farmers’ leader from Haryana, Suresh Kauth told The Citizen, “They are resorting to the tactics that they used to polarize the people during the Jat reservation stir. They managed to defame the Jat stir and isolate the community but we will not allow them to defame the farmers’ movement. The people across Haryana understand their design and we will not fall into their trap.”

He further said, “We have been protesting peacefully and will continue to do so. This is not a movement that can be brought to an end in a day or two. It is a movement of global consequence that is speaking out against the wrongs done under the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the exploitation being done by the corporates and the multinational corporations.”

Senior All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) functionary in Haryana Inderjeet told this reporter, “Having failed to come out of their political isolation despite having tried everything, they are now trying the two options left before them. They are trying to terrorize the people by unleashing Police repression and at the same time attempting to polarize the people on caste and communal lines. They have landed themselves in a very tricky situation. On the one side they are ruling the state and on the other they are not getting any space to go among the people. The Tiranga Yatra they had carried out in August too proved to be a damp squib as people remained indifferent to them.”

He went on to point out, “The thing that is worrying the BJP the most is the Muzaffarnagar rally that is scheduled to be held on September 5 where people from Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand are expected to come in large numbers. It was in 2013 that they resorted to communal polarization from Muzaffarnagar and its tremors were felt in several states. The same Muzaffarnagar is all set to be their Waterloo.”

Meanwhile the AIKS, while denouncing the brutal repression of farmers in Karnal, has warned the BJP-JJP government in Haryana that the current unprecedented farmers' struggle can never be suppressed by such inhuman acts of the anti-people government.

A statement issued by the AIKS president Ashok Dhawale and general secretary Hannan Mollah said, “These efforts at repression will only strengthen the farmers' resolve and determination. Coming on the heels of the massively successful Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) National Convention at Singhu Border for the last two days, this repression is even more shocking and reprehensible.”

The leaders at the convention gave a clarion call for Bharat Bandh on September 25, a massive Muzaffarnagar rally on September 5 and expansion of SKM throughout the country.

Dhawale further disclosed, “Resolutions were unanimously adopted expressing solidarity and support to their struggles on burning issues like the four labour codes, alarming unemployment and hunger, expansion of days and wages under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), implementation of the Forest Rights Act, against displacement of tribals by corporates, massive price rise of diesel, petrol, gas and other essential commodities, efforts to dismantle the public distribution system (PDS), atrocities on women, and privatization of education and the health system.”

He went on to state, “Two more important resolutions - one against the divisive communalism of the RSS-BJP combine, and the other against privatization and sale of the country to the corporates by the Narendra Modi regime - were unanimously adopted by the convention.”