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New Delhi: Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar on Sunday blamed a farmer leader for the chaos that led to cancellation of an event in the state's Karnal district.

"Administration had spoken to their (protesting farmers) people yesterday. They had agreed to hold a symbolic protest but no agitation. Trusting them, administration had made all preparations. Over 5,000 people were present at the event today. But some youth failed to keep their promise," said Khattar about the cancellation of 'kisan mahapanchayat'.

"Our nation has a strong democracy where everyone has freedom of expression. We never stopped statements of these alleged farmers & leaders. Their agitation is going on. Despite Covid, we made arrangements for them. It's not right to obstruct anyone who wants to speak. I don't think people will tolerate violation of provisions given by Dr B.R. Ambedkar. Congress had attempted to finish democracy in 1975. At that time people identified their disgusting work and threw them out of power They are getting exposed. I think Congress and Communist parties have a major role behind these agitations," he added.

Protesting farmers on Sunday vandalised the venue of a 'kisan mahapanchayat' programme at Kaimla village here where Khattar was to address people to highlight the “benefits" of the Centre's three agriculture laws.

The Haryana Police used water cannons and lobbed teargas shells to prevent the farmers from marching towards the village.

The farmers, however, reached the venue and damaged the makeshift helipad where Khattar's chopper was to land despite elaborate security arrangements made by the police.

They later took control of the helipad and squatted on it. Some protesters also uprooted the tiles of the helipad.

The farmers disrupted the ‘kisan mahapanchayat’ programme by damaging the stage and breaking chairs, tables and flower pots at the venue.

In the melee, stones were also pelted as police personnel ran for cover.

"If I have to hold someone responsible for this (chaos at the event), then a video of Gurnam Singh Chaduni (Bharatiya Kisan Union chief) has been circulating since day before yesterday wherein he had tried to instigate people," said Khattar.

"Today's incident gave a message to people, bigger than what I'd intended to give. These people have defamed the farmers because a farmer doesn't have such nature. A farmer can be less educated or simple but he's sensible," said Khattar.

Angry farmers, mainly comprising youths, damaged the stage, tent and speakers at the venue. They also tore BJP hoardings and uprooted banners in the presence of policemen.

Under the banner of Bharatiya Kisan Union (Charuni), farmers, who have been demanding that the laws be repealed, had earlier announced to oppose the 'kisan mahapanchayat'.

Haryana ministers Kanwar Pal Gujjar, Krishan Lal Panwar, Karnal MP Sanjay Bhatia and Gharaunda MLA Harvinder Kalyan were part of the programme before the agitating farmers took control of the venue.

“The programme was cancelled due to an unruly act by farmers at the behest of BKU leader Gurnam Singh Charuni," BJP leader Raman Mallik said.

While speaking about Covid-19 vaccination in the state, Khattar said, "It will be given free of cost to the poor (in the state). It will be good if some people support us in subsidising it, as the expenses will be high."

With PTI inputs

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