After four days of agitation, farmers in Karnal emerged victorious, as the district administration agreed to their demands of conducting an enquiry against Sub-Divisional Magistrate Ayush Sinha and providing government jobs to two family members of the farmer Sushil Kajal who died allegedly due to the police lathi-charge. Sinha, in a viral video, had asked the deputed policemen to “break the heads” of farmers who were protesting against participation of Haryana Chief Minister, Manohar Lal Khattar in a meeting held by the Bharatiya Janata Party. Later, the CM defended the conduct of the officer. Farmer leaders had alleged that the officer had breached the services rules by giving orders in an area out of his jurisdiction. Bastara toll plaza falls under the jurisdiction of Gharaunda SDM.
Addressing a press conference in the Mini Secretariat, Devender Singh, Additional Chief Secretary, said that talks between farmers’ organisations and the government happened in a cordial atmosphere and government has agreed for an enquiry into the case. He said,” As per agreement, the government will conduct an enquiry into lathicharge episode at Bastara toll plaza by a retired judge of Punjab and Haryana High Court and he will submit his report positively in a month. Until the enquiry is complete, Ayush Sinha will be on forced leave. Similarly, the government will give jobs to two family members of Sushil Kajal on DC rate in Karnal.”
Gurnam Singh Chaduni, President, Samyukta Kisan Morcha, Haryana, who was jointly briefing the press conference, said "the farmers reviewed their demands and reached the conclusion that the victim family’s loss is irreparable and no amount of monetary help can be enough. Thus, we had put demand for two government jobs." He said: "The administration has accepted our demands. The family members will be given the jobs on DC rate in a span of one week. Under DC rate, there are two types of jobs, sanctioned and Unsanctioned post. They will be given sanctioned jobs which will be regularised after due process.”
He added that the farmers’ organisations also reviewed their demand of filing an FIR against the officer in question and agreed for an enquiry by a retired judge of high court. He said, "Our legal team had recommended that the FIR would eventually lead to an enquiry by the local police official and he may not conduct proper enquiry against its own official. There were chances that the officer could move to high court for relief. Since the enquiry will be conducted by the retired judge and if he recommends that an FIR should be registered against him, the officer would have no way out.”
Commenting on the victory, Inderjit Singh, veteran farmers’ leader from All India Kisan Sabha, who was engaged in talks and negotiations, told NewsClick that the farmers have accepted the agreement happily. He said: "The administration was under immense pressure after farmers’ organisations declared that they would be mobilising farmers from the neighbouring districts of Uttar Pradesh and Punjab. The Punjab unions as well Rakesh Tikait has assured us about it. Simultaneously, local support has been tremendous in organising and running the agitation in terms of food supplies and other arrangements. After taking stock of the situation, the Haryana government sent Devender Singh, an officer of Additional Chief Secretary rank, for the talks. The talks have successfully concluded and we are calling off the protest.”
When asked about the change in attitude of administration from reluctance to accepting the demand, he said: "The administration was earlier making similar offers but was reluctant on any action on Ayush Sinha but farmers’ leadership made it clear that we would not be compromising on this demand. Thus, they finally succumbed. I think we got what we wanted. I am reiterating it again that we do not want any clash with the state government because our main struggle remains focused on three Central farm laws and a law guaranteeing procurement on minimum support price. It is the Haryana Government that has been creating situations which becomes impossible to avert.” Prior to Karnal, farmers have locked horns with administration in Rohtak, Sirsa and Fatehabad over a slew of issues.
Replying to a question on the demand regarding compensation to the injured farmers, Singh said: ”The administration has asked us for time to look into legal aspects of compensation. They have assured us about the compensation to the bereaved family and injured farmers.”