Swaraj India party president Yogendra Yadav and nearly 100 farmers were taken into preventive custody in Haryana's Sirsa on Wednesday after a group of agriculturists agitating against the Centre's new farm laws were evicted by the police from their dharna site on a busy road.
Besides Yadav, Haryana Kisan Manch chief Prahalad Singh was also taken into preventive custody and detained, Sirsa DSP Kuldeep Singh said.
Singh said that farmers were holding dharna on a busy highway in Sirsa where the administration had not given them the permission.
"The farmers had been allowed to hold their dharna on Dussehra grounds and we had asked them to move there and also had given them a choice to go to another site near Deputy Commissioner's office. However, they did not agree after which we took them into preventive custody," Singh said.
He said commuters were facing difficulty as the peasants were holding dharna in the middle of a busy road.
The farmers were put on buses and other vehicles arranged by the administration and taken to a nearby police station.
"Along with protesting farmers, I have been detained from farmers' protest site in Sirsa Been taken to Police Thana Sadar, Sirsa," Yadav, who lent support to the peasants' agitation against the new farm bills, posted on Twitter.
Yadav claimed that the Haryana government is rattled by farmers' questions and is bent upon using "brutal force to prevent dissent".
"I have been detained by Haryana Police for joining a peaceful dharna at Sirsa. Dharna site demolished. About 100 farmers and leaders arrested. Clearly, Haryana govt is rattled by farmers' questions, bent upon using brutal force to prevent dissent," Yadav said in another tweet.
He said the farmers' fight will only get bigger from here.
Police had on Tuesday used water cannons and tear gas to disperse the agitating farmers who tried to cross barricades and proceed towards the residences of Dushyant Chautala and his grand uncle and Power Minister Ranjit Singh Chautala in Sirsa, barely 200 metres away from their protest site.
The farmers were seeking resignations of Dushyant, a JJP leader, and Ranjit, an independent legislator, from the Manohar Lal Khatar government over the recently enacted three farm legislations.
While farmers belonging to 17 different organisations were part of the protest held on Tuesday, only a few continued to hold dharna near the residences of the Chautalas a day later.
The protest site lies on Sirsa-Barnala highway on the busy Baba Bhumman Shah Chowk.
The farmers said they will carry on with their dharna for an indefinite period and force the Centre to roll back the new farm legislations, which they dubbed "anti-farmers".
The police or administration cannot suppress the voice of farmers. They may ask us to clear this protest site, but our agitation against the farm legislations will continue and we will not rest the till we force the government to revoke these laws, said a farmer, who was at the protest site.
Sirsa police officials this morning made announcements over loudspeaker asking farmers to clear the protest site.
Sirsa Police DSP, Kuldeep Singh told reporters at the protest site that farmers were holding dharna on a busy road where the administration had not given them the permission.
"The farmers had been allowed to hold their dharna in Dussehra ground and we asked them to move there" he said.
The agitating farmers, however, remained adamant after which they were evicted from the site by the police.
Earlier, Haryana Bhartiya Kisan Union chief Gurnam Singh had lamented that while late Deputy Prime Minister Devi Lal always fought for farmers, both Ranjit Chautala and Dushyant Chautala were busy "enjoying pleasures of power", "ignoring" farmers' interests.
"Both Dushyant and Ranjit Chautala are bringing disrespect to the name of farmers messiahDevi Lal by misusing his name in the garb of the peasantry," Haryana Kisan Manch president Prahalad Singh said earlier.
Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala and INLD leader Abhay Singh Chautala had condemned the use of tear gas shells and water cannons on protesting farmers by the police.
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