Farmers protest: ‘Do not see the use of tear gas or water cannons as force’, says ML Khattar, backs Haryana police
Amid severe criticism of how Haryana police used ‘force’ on farmers as they marched into Delhi to protest against three recently passed farm laws, Haryana Prime Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said on Sunday that he did not consider what to use. tear gas and water cannons is a use of force. .
“I do not consider using tear gas and water cannons to be a use of force,” he said questioning how the Punjab government could allow such protests during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
After the Haryana police used tear gas and water cannons in freezing cold to disperse the farmers’ gathering, a verbal fight ensued between Khattar and the captain of the Punjab CM, Amarinder Singh. Singh accused the Haryana government of using “brute force” against farmers, which is “totally undemocratic and unconstitutional,” he said.
Khattar, in his coup at Singh, said he would quit the policy if there were any issue regarding the minimum support price (MSP) due to the new farm laws. Khattar also accused Singh of “not being available” for talks on farmers’ problems.
“Khattar is lying that he tried to call me before and I didn’t answer. But now, after what he’s done to my farmers, I’m not going to talk to him even if he calls me 10 times. Unless he apologizes and admits he did wrong to the Punjab farmers, I will not forgive him, ”Singh said.
Khattar also hinted at “unwanted elements” in the crowd of protesters and claimed that “cardholders” in the Punjab CM office have been directing the protesters.
While the police action against the protesters was criticized, the Haryana police said they acted with “great restraint”.
“Many of our vehicles were damaged by farmers. We tried to convince them to stop their march. We do not use any force against farmers. We handle the situation with great restraint ensuring that law and order are maintained, ”said Chief of State Police Manoj Yadava.