The Haryana government on Thursday suspended mobile internet and SMS services in Karnal as farmers continue their agitation outside the mini-secretariat in the district for the third day on Thursday. The state government said the step has been taken "to stop the spread of misinformation".
The order will remain in effect till 11:59 pm today. Farmers have refused to budge from their stand and have been demanding action against the officials who had ordered lathi-charge against protesters in the district in August.
On September 8, another round of talks between district officials and farmers failed and the protesters said they will continue their sit-in "indefinitely" at the district headquarters.
The protesting farmers' demands centre around the suspension of IAS officer Ayush Sinha, who was caught on tape allegedly telling policemen to break the heads of farmers if they cross the line during their August 28 protest. About 10 farmers were hurt that day when police used force to stop them from marching to the venue of a BJP event in Karnal.
The sit-in outside the Karnal mini-secretariat, following a mahapanchayat in the same city, began on Tuesday evening after talks between district officials and the farm leaders failed. The district administration invited a delegation of SKM leaders -- including Rakesh Tikait, Yogendra Yadav, and Gurnam Singh Chaduni -- for a meeting at 2 pm in another bid to end the standoff. But the standoff continued.
Karnal is Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar's home constituency.
Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait charged that the state government is trying to save the officer. "So, we have decided that our dharna will continue here at the same site. Farmers from Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, and Punjab will also keep joining the dharna site here," he said.
Meanwhile, the movement of traffic on the Delhi-Karnal-Ambala National Highway-44 remained normal.
For months now, farmers have been sitting on dharnas at Delhi's borders demanding repeal of three new farm laws. Several rounds of talks between the Centre and farmers had failed to reach a consensus on the issue.
With inputs from PTI