With one hour to go for the commencement of the agitation, trolleys filled with men and women have started arriving and have already filled the small compound of Narnaund police station quickly. The Jat Dharamshala, just opposite the compound, is geared up for looking after the needs of food and water of a few thousand protesters.
The farmers in this town are enraged over the brutal assault on one of the farmers protesting against BJP Rajya Sabha MP Ram Chandra Jangra when he came to inaugurate a community centre.
Farmers allege that Kuldeep Singh was beaten by personal security officers of the MP, who is now languishing in an intensive care unit at the Jindal Institute of Medical Sciences in Hisar. However, the contention among enraged farmers remains the registration of FIRs against the farmer and two other persons, Harshdeep Singh Gill and Kailash. The FIR by police stated that the protesters came up with a pre-planned conspiracy to attack the member of Parliament and booked them under sections 120 B, 147, 148, 353 and 427 of the Indian Penal Code. However, farmers refute the charges and demand withdrawal of the cases.
Clad in his black turban, Harshdeep Singh Gill, an advocate by profession named in the FIR, told NewsClick that the police did not cite sound evidence to back its claim. He said that the farmers had assembled to protest against Jangra as per the call of Samyukta Kisan Morcha to oppose the leaders of BJP and its ally Jannayak Janta Party. The farmers were particularly enraged with Jangra, who called farmers names and termed them “drug addicts and alcoholics.”
He added, ”We had blocked the one way to protest his arrival. We suddenly got the information that his contingent was taking a different route. We ran towards the second lane. Then, the police detained us. Kuldeep Singh, who was with us, was attacked by the men coming from the contingent of MP. When we took him a few metres away, he collapsed. We took him to the nearest hospital, where doctors put him under observation. After an hour, we were told to take him to Jindal hospital in Hisar. As far as this sit-in is concerned, we are demanding withdrawal of false cases against us and registration of FIR against guilty PSOs.”
Gill added that the efforts are on the rise to polarise people on religious and caste lines. Chand Bahadur, Secretary, All India Kisan Sabha Jind, told NewsClick that the saffron party is employing a dangerous cocktail of caste and religion in the region. Referring to the live broadcast of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech in a temple in Kiloi village in Rohtak district, he added, ”We are seeing that a former minister is using the premises of the temple to mobilise people for PM’s speech. The people were particularly furious about why they chose the temple for political assembly. On the contrary, Jangra is using backward caste background to play the victim card. We gheraoed O P Dhankar, Anil Vij and Manish Grover for different reasons. They all belonged to different castes. So, we see a vicious play to disturb law and order.”
When asked about the future of the protest as it nears the first anniversary with frequent tussles in recent months, he said, ”The people are aware of the laws. However, they may not be that visible on the streets, but they come in large numbers whenever we ask them to come for protests. It has happened for the first time since 1952 that a candidate supported by BJP has to take the protection of paramilitary forces to campaign in Ellenabad.”
An overwhelming presence of women farmers suggests that the struggle still enjoys widespread support, with many cracking jokes about how policemen have been detained in their own station. After a long meeting, the SKM committee came up with a further resolution to gherao the Superintendent of Police (Hansi) on November 8 to press for demands.