An unlikely ‘protester’ turned up at a police station in Haryana’s Fatehabad district on Sunday along with farmers who were protesting the arrest of two farmers. Farmers, who continued their sit-in at a police station in Fatehabad’s Tohana demanding the release of two arrested for surrounding an MLA’s home, brought with them a cow to the station premises, saying it was the 41st “witness” that saw the farmers being arrested.
The two farmers were released on bail late Sunday night. Following their release, the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha (SKU) has called off the plan to surround police stations in Haryana. However, the protests in Tohana will continue.
Police officials will be responsible for giving the cow food and water, the farmers said. The animal was seen tied to a small pole in the police station premises, with water and grass placed before it.
“The present government considers itself as a government of cow worshippers or cow lovers. We have brought the sacred animal as a symbol because it is considered pure and pious, and its presence might be helpful in putting some sense in the government,” one of the protesting farmers said.
The sit-in at the police station was led by prominent farmer leader Rakesh Tikait. The decision to continue with the protest came after a marathon meeting between farmer leaders and the district administration failed to reach a consensus earlier on Sunday.
Two farmer leaders – Vikas Sisar and Ravi Azad – were arrested for surrounding the home Haryana MLA Devendra Singh Babli of the JJP – which is allied with the ruling BJP – last Wednesday.
Several farmer groups in Haryana have been opposing the public functions of the BJP-JJP leaders.
The protesting farmers had earlier also sought the registration of a case against Mr Babli for allegedly verbally abusing them during their protest against the centre’s controversial agricultural laws. The politician later expressed regret for uttering “inappropriate” words against farmers.
The police itself is the complainant in the case against the farmers for surrounding the MLA’s home.