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Haryana: Govt Yet to Identify Judge for Probe Three Days After Farmers Call off Protest

The farmers' sit-in had been called off after the state government agreed to their demands, chief among which was a probe into the August 28 police lathi charge on farmers.

New Delhi: Three days have passed since farmers called off their sit-in protests outside Karnal’s mini-secretariat, yet the Haryana government still hasn’t identified the retired high court judge who will head the probe into the police’s lathi-charge on August 28, the Indian Express reported.

The protests in Karnal had been called off after the government acquiesced to the farmers’ major demands, prominent among them being an investigation into the police lathi-charge at Karnal’s Bastara toll plaza which had left several farmers injured.  

The investigation had been announced by the state’s additional chief secretary, Devender Singh, who, at a press meet on September 10 had also declared that the man at the centre of the scuffle, sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) Ayush Sinha, would be put on leave during the course of the investigation.

The protests in Karnal called for action to be taken against Sinha, who had earlier featured in a video that went viral on social media in which he was caught instructing police officers to “break farmers’ heads” ahead of the August 28 violence.

The Indian Express quoted a senior government official as saying that the name of the retired judge who will preside over the investigation has not been “finalised” yet.

The September 10 press meet also made note of Sushil Kajal, a farmer who lost his life during the police lathi charge. While the administration had claimed that Kajal had died of a heart attack, it also noted that two members of his family will be provided with district-commissioner level jobs within the month.

Kajal’s son Sahil, a post-graduate and his daughter-in-law Ritu, a commerce graduate, are still awaiting their job offers.

Also read: Farmers End Karnal Protest After Government Accepts Major Demands

Haryana home minister Anil Vij had earlier stated that a probe into the matter would not be limited to investigating the actions of the former Karnal SDM but will consider the whole episode. “If farmers or their leaders are found guilty, then whatever action is deemed fit will be taken,” he said, according to a report by the New Indian Express.

While condemning Sinha’s “choice of words”, Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar had earlier noted that, “..strictness had to be maintained to ensure that the law and order situation there was kept under check,” NDTV had reported.