Karnal police on Tuesday detained Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait, Swaraj India chief Yogendra Yadav and other farm leaders from Namaste Chowk in Karnal. However, they were released later after pressure from protestors, Yogendra Yadav tweeted.
Meanwhile, thousands of farmers have started marching towards the district headquarters on Tuesday evening after union leaders said their talks with the local administration had failed.
Farmer unions had demanded action against officials over the lathi-charge against protesters on August 28 in Karnal. Otherwise, they had threatened farmers will lay siege on the Karnal mini-secretariat.
Farmers reached the New Anaj Mandi for a mahapanchayat in the morning, riding tractors and motorcycles. As they gathered there, an 11-member delegation was invited by the local administration to discuss their demands and dissuade them from marching towards the secretariat.
"Our talks with administration failed as they did not agree to our demands," senior farm leader Joginder Singh Ugrahan said about three hours later.
Farmer union leaders then urged the large gathering at the mahapanchayat to march peacefully towards the mini-secretariat, five kilometres away.
Earlier, BKU leader Rakesh Tikait told reporters that they had demanded the suspension of the IAS officer who was caught on tape allegedly telling policemen to "break heads" of protesting farmers.
Rakesh Tikait, Balbir Singh Rajewal, Joginder Singh Ugrahan, Darshan Pal and Yogendra Yadav were among the senior Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) leaders who had reached Karnal for the rally, being held days after a huge mahapanchayat in Uttar Pradesh's Muzaffarnagar.
Addressing the mahapanchayat earlier, Yogendra Yadav said, "We have come to ask the government which Constitution, which law gives an IAS officer permission to give orders to break the farmers' heads." "Under which law are police allowed to carry out brutal lathi-charge resulting in the death of one and injuries to several others," he added.
The authorities have, however, denied that any farmer died due to the violence on August 28.
The Haryana Police had on that day lathi-charged a group of farmers disrupting traffic on the national highway while heading towards the venue of a BJP meeting. Over 10 protesters were injured. The SKM had said a murder case should be registered against IAS officer Ayush Sinha over his alleged "break heads" remark.
Sinha, who was later transferred in a reshuffle also involving some other IAS officers, has now been posted as the additional secretary in the Citizen Resources Information Department.
Mobile internet services were suspended in Karnal and the four adjoining districts of Kurukshetra, Kaithal, Jind and Panipat until Tuesday midnight. Prohibitory orders under Section 144 CrPC banning gathering of people were imposed in Karnal district.
(With PTI inputs)
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