Farmers Say No To Meeting Called By Haryana On Lifting Highway Blockade

The highway (NH-44) has been blocked by farmers protesting against the centre's new farm laws at the Singhu and Tikri borders since November last year.

The farmer leader has accused Delhi and its police of barricading the roads

New Delhi:

The protesting farmers, digging in their heels, have refused to attend the meeting called by the Haryana government about opening passage to the Delhi border.

The highway (NH-44) has been blocked by farmers protesting against the centre's new farm laws at the Singhu and Tikri borders since November last year.

"All farmer leaders have decided that they will not be going to the meeting called by the Haryana government as the Supreme Court has ordered the state government on road blockage. We have already kept one side open," said Manjeet Singh, a farmer leader.

The farmer leader has accused Delhi and its police of barricading the roads.

Haryana home minister Anil Vij on Friday invited Samyukt Kisan Morcha - the umbrella body of around 40 farmers' unions which has been spearheading the protest - for a meeting with the state government's high-powered committee (HPC) at Murthal in Sonipat at 11 am on Sunday.

"The members of the state-level high-powered committee would hold talks with various farmer organisations. Office bearers of 43 farmer organisations have been invited to attend this meeting," read a statement from the state government.

The new committee, Mr 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.

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.

"Keeping in view the Supreme Court orders and the fact that common people are facing inconvenience due to the blockade, the committee will hold talks with Samyukt Kisan Morcha on the opening of the way," Rajiv Arora had said.

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.