The district administration of Karnal in Haryana on Monday announced an Internet shutdown from half past midnight on Tuesday in view of a call given by protesting farmers to gherao the mini-secretariat.
The gherao is in protest against the BJP-led Haryana government’s decision to back former sub-divisional magistrate Ayush Sinha, who was caught on camera ordering the police to break the heads of farmers if they tried to breach a security cordon on August 28.
Late on Monday night, the Haryana government issued an order suspending mobile Internet services for 24 hours in the adjoining districts of Kurukshetra, Kaithal, Jind and Panipat.
According to the shutdown order for Karnal, all forms of telecom Internet services (2G/3G/4G/CDMA/GPRS) and SMS services provided on mobile networks will remain suspended for the next 24 hours.
Only voice calls will be possible during the shut down in Karnal, which has already been brought under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
The Samyukta Kisan Morcha on Monday said they would go ahead with their protest action and hold a kisan mahapanchayat in Karnal. Farmers have been told to assemble at the grain market and then proceed to gherao the mini-secretariat.
The Congress has stepped in to urge the Haryana government to withdraw the prohibitory orders, restore Internet services and allow the farmers to hold their planned mahapanchayat, besides take action against the erring officials.
After Sinha’s video went viral and several farmers were injured in the lathi charge that took place at the Karnal toll plaza on August 28, the SKM had given a call to lay siege of the mini-secretariat on September 7 if their demand for dismissal of the former SDM is not met by Monday.
Subsequently, following the death of a farmer — who had suffered injuries in the lathi charge — the SKM has been pressing for Sinha to be booked for murder. The family of the deceased farmer, Sushil Kajal, has alleged that he was denied treatment by the police.
The Haryana government eventually transferred Sinha out of Karnal to Chandigarh but this has failed to cut any ice with the farmers as no disciplinary proceedings have been initiated against the former SDM.