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Farmers to continue protest in Karnal as another round of talks fail

Farmers opposing the Centre’s three agricultural legislation have announced that their sit-in outside the Mini Secretariat in Karnal, Haryana, will continue. The second round of discussions between farmer leaders and the Haryana government failed on Wednesday, prompting the declaration.

The farmers’ organisation spearheading the protest, Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), has demanded that the former Karnal sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) Ayush Sinha be suspended. After a video showing him urging police forces to ‘crush the heads’ of protesting farmers went viral on social media, Sinha courted controversy. Farmers allege that police used force to prevent protesters from attending a BJP rally in Karnal, injuring at least ten people.

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Hundreds of farmers marched to the Karnal Mini Secretariat on Tuesday, protesting the Haryana government’s decision to transfer the IAS official rather than prosecute him. After the Haryana Police failed to disperse the gathering using water cannons, the protestors decided to conduct a sit-in (dharna). Farmer leaders have stated that they will continue to sit outside the Karnal Mini Secretariat, but will not block officials from entering.

Speaking to the media, SKM’s Inderjit Singh said: ‘We did not want to convert this into a morcha, but we will continue our protest until our demands are met. The government says suspension can’t happen without an inquiry, but they are not even taking any steps against the officer.’

Rakesh Tikait, the head of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), who has been at the forefront of the farmers’ protest at Delhi’s Ghazipur border for more than eight months, was also present at the protest site. On the fringes of the national capital, similar protest camps have sprung up at the Tikri and Singhu borders.

‘We have decided that our dharna will continue here at the same site. Farmers from Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Punjab will also keep joining the dharna site here,’ Tikait told reporters on Wednesday. Farmers demonstrating in Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh, called for a Kisan Mahapanchayat in Karnal earlier this month.

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