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regular-article-logo Sunday, 21 April 2024

Completely wrong to say Punjab allowed gathering of farmers at borders: State government tells Centre

The Punjab government's response came a day after the Centre conveyed its strong objection to the gathering of protesters, estimating that nearly 14,000 people have assembled along the Punjab-Haryana border

PTI Chandigarh Published 21.02.24, 07:08 PM
Protesting farmers have been camping at Shambhu and Khanauri points on Punjab's border with Haryana

Protesting farmers have been camping at Shambhu and Khanauri points on Punjab's border with Haryana PTI

In a strong response to the Union Home Ministry's letter on the ongoing farmers' agitation, the AAP dispensation in Punjab Wednesday wrote to the Centre saying it is "completely wrong" to claim the state government was allowing gathering at the two border points with Haryana.

The Punjab government's response came a day after the Centre conveyed its strong objection to the gathering of protesters, estimating that nearly 14,000 people have assembled along the Punjab-Haryana border.

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Protesting farmers have been camping at Shambhu and Khanauri points on Punjab's border with Haryana after their 'Delhi Chalo' march to press the Centre for various demands, including a legal guarantee for minimum support price (MSP) for crops, was stopped by security forces which led to clashes last week.

In its communication to the Punjab government, the Union Home Ministry also said the deteriorating law-and-order situation in the state over the past few days has been a matter of concern and asked it to take stringent action against lawbreakers.

The home ministry said many miscreants in the guise of farmers were indulging in stone-pelting, and mobilising heavy machinery along the Shambhu on Punjab's border with Haryana.

According to reports prepared by central security agencies, nearly 14,000 people have been allowed to gather at the Shambhu barrier on Rajpura-Ambala Road, with nearly 1,200 tractor-trolleys, 300 cars, 10 mini-buses and other small vehicles, the home ministry said.

Similarly, Punjab has allowed a gathering of around 4,500 people with close to 500 tractor-trolleys at the Dhabi-Gujran barrier, it claimed.

In response, Punjab Chief Secretary Anurag Verma said it was "completely wrong" to claim that the Punjab government was allowing people to gather at Shambhu and Dhabhi-Gurjan borders.

Farmers were going to Delhi to hold a protest but because of restrictions on their movement, farmers were at the borders of Punjab and Haryana, he said.

Verma said that till now, more than 160 people have been injured due to tear gas shells, rubber bullets, use of physical force and drones by the Haryana Police.

Yet the Punjab government has responsibly maintained the law and order situation, he said.

He also said the Punjab government played an important role in negotiations between farmer leaders and a panel of union ministers with Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann himself attending three out of four such meetings.

In one of the meetings which he could not attend, the CM deputed a cabinet minister and senior officials, he said.

The chief secretary called for showing more sympathy towards farmers, saying the law and order issue during the protest should be tackled in a more sensitive way as Punjab is a border state.

Over 2,000 police personnel have been deputed to maintain peace, according to the communication.

"The situation is being constantly monitored, we will take steps if needed," the chief secretary said.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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