Chandigarh, Jul 10 (PTI) The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Wednesday ordered the Haryana government to open up within a week on "experimental basis" the barricade at the Shambhu border near Ambala, where farmers have been camping since February 13.

The court also directed Punjab to ensure that the protesters gathered in their territory are also "duly controlled as and when the situation so requires".

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The farmers have summoned a meeting on July 16 to discuss the matter.

Meanwhile, farmer Shubhkaran Singh, who was killed at Khanauri border on February 21, was hit by a shotgun bullet, Haryana additional advocate general Deepak Sabherwal said, quoting a report of the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL).

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The farmers have been camping at the Shambhu border since February 13 when their 'Delhi Chalo' march was stopped.

The Haryana government had set up barricades including cemented blocks at the Ambala-New Delhi national highway in February when Samyukta Kisan Morcha (Non Political) and Kisan Mazdoor Morcha (KMM) had announced their plan to move towards Delhi in support of various demands, including a legal guarantee for minimum support price (MSP) for crops.

The high court's directions came on a bunch of petitions filed on farmer-related issues and against blockade which included the one filed by Haryana-based advocate Uday Pratap Singh.

Also directing Punjab to remove any obstruction on the highway to ensure free flow of traffic, the high court said, "Both the states shall endeavor to ensure that the highway at Shambhu Border is restored to its original glory and open to one and all and that the law and order is maintained for the convenience of the public."

Observing that the highway is the lifeline for the state of Punjab, the court said the blockade due to preventive measures by Haryana is leading to a lot of inconvenience.

"Thus, there is no free flow even to the transport vehicles or the buses and the diversion can only be used by persons who are using private transport and thus general public has been put to major inconvenience," said the division bench of justices G S Sandhawalia and Vikas Bahl in the order.

"As noticed, the number of protestors has now dwindled to only 400-500 as admitted by the states as in the earlier orders, we had not directed opening of the highways since the situation at that time due to gathering at Shambhu Border of 13,000-15,000 was tense.

"It has also been brought to our notice that a similar entry point for the State of Punjab into Haryana and the barricade at Khanauri Border, District Sangrur, continues to be blocked. Thus, it is apparent that the lifelines of the state of Punjab are blocked on account of mere apprehension and the cause has dwindled," the court said.

In such circumstances, we are of the considered opinion that it would be in the interest of general public that the state of Haryana now does not continue to block the highways for all times to come, it said.

The court said, "Accordingly, on experimental basis, we direct the state of Haryana that at least the barricade at Shambhu border should be opened up within a week so that general public is not put to inconvenience."

The court also said it is open to the state of Haryana to take effective steps to enforce the law and order against the protestors if they do not remain within their limits which have been set down by the state.

The high court also directed the farmers' outfits participating in the agitation to maintain law and order.

Meanwhile, speaking to reporters earlier in the day, Sabherwal said according to the CFSL report which was submitted before the court on Wednesday, Shubhkaran was hit by a shotgun bullet.

The high court observed that no police force or paramilitary force ever uses the shotgun, said Sabherwal.

He further said Jhajjar Police Commissioner Satish Balan has been nominated the SIT head to investigate the Shubhkaran case.

According to the court order, "The (CFSL) report would go on to show that the pellets under reference were found to have been fired through shotgun and correspond to size '1' pellets of shotgun cartridges. The piece of skin and hair strands under reference have been examined chemically for the presence of firing discharge residues which were duly detected."

The SKM (Non-Political) and KMM are spearheading the 'Delhi Chalo' march by farmers to press the government to accept their demands which include that the Centre should give a legal guarantee for MSP for crops.

Shubhkaran, a native of Bathinda, was killed and many police personnel were injured in clashes at the Khanauri border point on the Punjab-Haryana border on February 21.

Meanwhile, reacting to the court directive, farmer leader Sarwan Singh Pandher said they have called a meeting of both the forums -- SKM (Non Political) and KMM -- on July 16 to discuss the issue.

"We had earlier made it clear that we had not blocked the road and the barricading had been done by the Centre and Haryana government," he said.

In a statement, Pandher also said, "Farmers never had any intention to block the road. If the government opens the highway, then farmers will not create any obstacle in traffic movement".

(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from Syndicated News feed, LatestLY Staff may not have modified or edited the content body)