Close on the heels of the unrest at Maruti's Manesar plant, Haryana's plan to set up a multi-modal logistics hub in Bawal as part of the ambitious Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) has kicked up a storm.
On Sunday, police fired at farmers protesting against the acquisition of 3,000 acres and around 20 people, including 10 policemen, were injured. Protesters blocked the Delhi-Jaipur highway for almost eight hours from 1pm to 9pm and a portion of the highway was dug up by an earth mover causing massive traffic jam.
Farmers called a truce after their leaders met administration and senior police officers late on Sunday evening. "The highway has been opened. The administration has agreed to release five farmers who have been arrested and chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda will meet them soon.
The farmers have suspended the protest," political analyst Yogendra Yadav, who mediated the meeting between the administration and farmers, told TOI. Yadav belongs to this region. The mayhem started when a mahapanchayat called by farmers from Haryana, UP, and Rajasthan to protest against the land acquisition decided to block the Delhi-Jaipur highway around 1.30pm.
Bhumi Adigrahan Virodhi Sangharsh Samiti had called the mahapanchayat over the state government acquiring 3,000 acres in 21 villages of Rewari district. Kisan Sangharsh Samiti president Ram Kishan Mahalwas said they had given an ultimatum to the administration to negotiate with them by 1pm or face the ire of farmers.
"After there was no response from administration till 1pm, the protesters announced to give another 10 minutes. We were opposing land acquisition till the new Land Acquisition Bill is passed in Parliament.
Hooda government had announced to put acquisition on hold till the bill is passed," said D K Sharma, a retired Army officer and vice-president of Haryana Kisan Sangharsh Samiti. Sensing trouble, over 500 policemen were deployed on the other side of the road where the mahapanchayat was being held.
Around 1.10pm, Mahalwas directed the protesters to move towards the highway and block it. Soon, policemen stationed there chased them away. Protesters allegedly torched a dozen vehicles, including two fire tenders and three buses.
Violent clashes continued for over an hour in which 10 cops including two women constables were taken hostage. To disperse the mob, police opened fire and farmers retaliated with stone pelting.
Later, around 2,000 farmers managed to take control of the highway as the police, including Rewari SP Abhishek Garg, had to escape fearing mob fury. Late in the evening, a platoon of ITBP was deployed.