Security has been stepped up in Haryana's Hisar district as farmers have planned to picket the residence of a senior police officer tomorrow to protest criminal cases filed against more than 300 farmers who have been on protest against the centre's new farm laws since last November.
The Hisar Police have registered cases against 350 farmers with charges including attempt to murder, rioting, unlawful assembly and spreading the coronavirus infection after they protested in Hisar outside a temporary COVID-19 hospital, disrupting Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar's plans of inaugurating it.
After the police registered the cases against the protesters, the farmers announced plans to picket the residence of Inspector General of Police - Hisar Range.
According to official sources, more than 30 companies or around 3,000 personnel of the Rapid Action Force or RAF have been called into the Hisar district while senior police officials of Hisar Range are holding a meeting today.
"We are holding talks with leaders of the farmers to avoid a large number of people gathering in one place because of the coronavirus pandemic. A lot of people are dying in Hisar from the virus. We are urging the farmers to talk to us to avoid a worse situation," Priyanka Soni, the district chief of Hisar, said.
Balwan Singh Rana, the district police chief, said, "We have made all arrangements to maintain peace and enforce the lockdown. We are wating for three days for them to come for talks. "
Thousands of farmers today set off from Karnal in Haryana, for Delhi, where they plan to observe a 'Black Day' on Wednesday, marking six months of their protest against three central farm laws, amid a statewide Covid lockdown. Reports say of many from Punjab's Sangrur have also left for the national capital.
Thousands of farmers have been camping on the edge of New Delhi since November, and many more have been on protest in several parts of the country, against the new agricultural laws introduced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government last year.
The farmers say the laws will revoke safeguards that guard them against price gouging and guaranteed rates for some crops by paving the way for corporations to take over agricultural buying while the government says reforms will open up new avenues for income.
The protests have continued as the country struggled to contain a second wave of COVID-19 much more severe than its first last year, which some scientists say is being accelerated by a new variant and another variant first detected in Britain. India reported 2.4 lakh new cases on Sunday.