Haryana has formed a special committee to begin talks with farmers about opening passage to the Delhi border after a high-level meeting held by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar. The state government’s move comes six days before the Supreme Court is expected to hear a petition regarding the blockade of NH-44 by protesting farmers. The highway has been blocked by farmers protesting against the Centre’s new farm laws at the Singhu and Tikri borders since November last year.
The new committee, state home minister Anil Vij said, will comply with the orders of the Supreme Court, which asked the Centre and governments of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana to find a solution (to blocked roads) while recognising the farmers’ right to protest.
The committee will hold talks with the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha – the umbrella body of around 40 farmers’ unions which has been spearheading the protest. The farmers, however, have been hugely upset with the use of force by the state police, which led to a flashpoint in Karnal earlier this month.
Mr Vij said the committee will be chaired by the state home department’s Additional Chief Secretary Rajiv Arora. Senior police officers of the state will also be part of the committee, he added.
The Sonipat district administration has already held a meeting with a section of farmer union leaders and urged them to vacate a portion of NH-44 on the Singhu-Kundli border.
Citing the petition on the protests on the National Highway 44 and the Supreme Court’s order of August 23, the administration asked the farmers to either shift to one side of the highway or move to an alternate site.
The farmers had left the decision to the Samyukt Kisan Morcha.
On August 23, the Supreme Court, in a response to a petition to clear the Delhi-Noida highway, said the solution “lies in hands of the Centre and state governments,”
“They (farmers) have a right to protest but inflow and outflow can’t be interrupted. (This) causes great inconvenience to other people. If protests are on the traffic should not be stopped… movement of people should not be disturbed,” said a bench headed by Justice SK Kaul.