Around 100 farmers from Haryana were taken into custody on Tuesday as they headed towards Chandigarh for a demonstration to seek compensation for losses caused by floods, police said.
In Longowal in Punjab's Sangrur district, farmers continued their 'dharna' over the detention on Monday of some farm leaders who were going to the Union Territory of Chandigarh -- the joint capital of the two states -- for the planned demonstration. There was a clash with police when farmers tried to block a highway in the district.
Security was tightened at the inter-state borders of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh in view of the protest in the Union Territory, while in Sangrur, some leaders of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) joined the protest there on Tuesday.
In the Sangrur clashes a farmer had died after he came under a tractor-trolley, while five policemen were injured. Police have booked several farmers under the Indian Penal Code, including for attempt to murder.
The Chandigarh protest was called by 16 farmers' organisations such as the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee, the Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU)-Karantikari, the BKU-Ekta Azaad, Aazaad Kisan Committee, Doaba, BKU-Behramke and the Bhoomi Bachao Mohim.
Giving details, police said around 100 farmers were detained at the Shambhu border in Haryana's Ambala when they were headed towards Chandigarh. They were taken to police stations in buses, they said and added that the farmers were trying to forcibly move towards the Union Territory.
Farmers also blocked the Hisar-Chandigarh National Highway near Ambala when they were not allowed to march towards Chandigarh.
On the Ambala-Chandigarh road, police had set up check-posts and vehicles passing through them were also being searched. Inspector General of Police, Ambala range, Sibash Kabiraj also took stock of the situation in his jurisdiction.
Many farmers could not reach the Shambhu border due to heavy police deployment and strict checking at many places.
In Chandigarh, security personnel have been deployed at entry and exit points to prevent farmers from entering the Union Territory.
On Monday, farmer leaders, including Amarjit Singh Mohri, the national president of the BKU-Shaheed Bhagat Singh, from Haryana's Ambala were detained by police, while in Punjab, Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee (KMSC) president Sarwan Singh Pandher, Satkar Singh Kotli of KMSC, Bohr Singh of BKU-Behramke were among those detained.
In a statement, the Aam Aadmi Party's (AAP) Punjab chief spokesperson Malvinder Singh Kang said it is the responsibility of the Punjab government to maintain law and order and it is fulfilling its responsibility.
The leader of the ruling party in Punjab also appealed to farmer organisations to maintain peace and cooperate with the government.
At the farmers' protest in Sangrur's Longowal, Krantikari Kisan Union leader Gurmeet Singh said they demand the release of detained leaders and compensation for flood-hit farmers.
He said a meeting of the SKM over the issue of compensation for losses caused by floods will be held on September 2 in Chandigarh.
Farmers are demanding a package of Rs 50,000 crore from the Centre for damages caused by floods in the northern region. They are also demanding Rs 50,000 per acre compensation for crop loss, Rs 5 lakh for a damaged house and Rs 10 lakh compensation for a family of a person who died in the floods.
Farmers had claimed that several of their leaders were detained on Monday in different parts of Punjab, while some farmers were also held in Ambala and Kurukshetra in Haryana ahead of their protest plan.
They had even laid siege on some toll plazas in amritsar, Tarn Taran and Hoshiarpur in Punjab in protest against the detention of their leaders.
During their protest, they did not allow toll plaza authorities to charge fee from commuters.
The AAP spokesperson said, "I appeal to farmers' organisations that instead of becoming the cause of problems for people, they should focus on solving the problem together with the government."
"People will be in trouble due to closed toll plazas and roads in Punjab. It is everyone's democratic right to protest peacefully, but peace and order should be maintained during protests," Kang said in the statement.
He assured farmers about compensation, adding that the process of 'girdawari' (survey to assess losses) is underway in different areas of Punjab. "Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann has never turned away from problems of farmers. From day one, he has been working for the betterment of farmers," Kang said.
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