Karnal: A group of farmers who were marching to Karnal to protest against a state-level BJP meeting chaired by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar were severely injured after the police in Haryana lathicharged them.
A video which is now doing rounds shows Karnal Sub-divisional Magistrate Ayush Sinha instructing the police to “break the heads” of protesting farmers if they breach barricades that were put up to block the farmers’ march.
In the video, Sinha is heard saying, “Utha ke maarna peeche sabko. Main duty magistrate hun, likhit mein bata raha hun deta hun ki seedhe lath maarna. Kisi nirdesh ki koi zaroorat nahin, zor se maarna hai. Yadi main ek bhi pradarshankari ko yahan dekhun to uska sir foota hona chhaiye, koi shaq?” (“Just give them a beating. I’m the duty magistrate, there is no need for formal instructions, just beat them hard. If I see any demonstrator here, he should have a broken head. Any doubt?”)
In an interview with the Indian Express, Sinha has called the video doctored. “Only a selected portion about the lathi charge was made viral on social media platforms… only a selected portion of my briefing was leaked,” he told the newspaper.
Though the police claimed that only mild force was used as the protesters were blocking the highway and affecting traffic movement, pictures from the spot show the farmers, who were lathicharged, with injuries and bloodstains on their clothes. The police also claimed that only four protesters were injured, while ten cops sustained injuries.
Deputy Commissioner, Nishant Kumar Yadav told ThePrint, “The video was altered and did not show the whole briefing. The whole state knows that Ayush is one of our finest officers. We will release the whole video in the evening and will also hold a press conference about the incident.”
As part of their ongoing agitation against the farm laws, the farmers had decided to hold a protest against BJP leaders, for which they had assembled at the Bastara toll plaza near Karnal.
Haryana Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Gurnam Singh Chaduni said that orders were given by an official that if anyone tries to head towards the BJP meeting venue they should be lathicharged. Gurnam Singh Chaduni alleged that the police brutally lathicharged the protesting farmers, leaving many injured.