Agitating Farmers Crouch As CM Warns Of Stern Action

Jind, May 24: | Updated: May 25 2002, 05:30am hrs
Chief minister OP Chautala’s warning of stern action against Kandela kisan agitators for holding Haryana cops hostage, appears to have hit the target — the leaders of Haryana unit of Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) and those of the opposition parties.

BKU president Ghasi Ram Nain and even the middle-ranking leaders of opposition parties are no more visible around the Kandela school compound — the center-stage of the agitators’ indefinite rally. Mr Nain, talking over phone with this correspondent on Thursday evening, said, that he would prefer to sacrifice his life than betray the agitators. Mr Nain could not be contacted on Saturday despite repeated attempts.

Mr Nain’s aide Satpal Singh denied that BKU had held any government official or cop captive. “There is no restriction on anybody’s coming or going out of the rally venue,” he added before abruptly switching off the cellphone.

All efforts to contact HPCC president Bhopinder Singh Hooda and the opposition leader and former chief minister, Bhajan Lal failed.

The number of agitators, on the other hand, is reported to have gone up and the speeches are turning more fiery. A lawyer, Ran Singh Redhu, denying affiliation to any political party, told FE, “Whatever may be the size of agitators camping at Kandela, a majority comprises elderly persons and school children who do not have much to do except growing paddy nurseries or nursing the newly-sown cotton crop.”

Deputy commissioner HS Dhankar on Friday went to Kandela school and demanded the agreement which Ghasi Ram Nain had earlier claimed bears signatures of Bhiwani MP Ajay Chautala and agriculture minister, Jaswinder Singh Sandhu.

Mr Dhankar said he talked to both Mr Ajay Chautala and Mr Sandhu who denied having signed any letter or agreement. But, both admitted that they did visit Kandela on January 31 and talked to the farmers assuring them that their demands would be placed before the chief minister. It was only after this the Haryana Vidyut Prasaran Nigam (HVPN) gave an unprecedented waiver, outrightly writing off 75 per cent of the electricity overdues.

On being contacted the chief minister said that he had never said that he would not talk to farmers or would not listen to their demands.

And, that he was determined to ensure that nobody took law in his/her hands and the negotiations were not held under duress.

In a related development, IG Police, Hisar Range, John V George, has asked the police to cordon off Kandela without provoking anybody. The cops have removed road blocks on the Jind-Chandigarh road and a few others touching Kandela.