With incidents of ‘locals’ reportedly demanding agitating farmers to vacate protesting sites near Delhi borders, Joginder Singh, president of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ugrahan), one of the largest outfits in Punjab, on Friday termed the episodes being sponsored by the BJP government at the Centre.
Mr. Singh told The Hindu that the government was playing dirty tricks to give an impression that the ongoing movement was weakening, which, he said, “was only strengthening under excesses being committed by the government.”
Asserting that the incidents of ‘locals’ arriving at the famers’ protest site at Singhu, demanding the area to be vacated by the agitators, were sponsored by the BJP, Mr. Singh said, “It’s all BJP’s plot. They have government in Haryana and they are planting their own people to speak against us — be it in Singhu or at Tikri. Two people had approached me at Tikri, asking our union to remove our stage. We told them that we were fighting for a cause for future generations after which they left. We will not let the government be successful in their dirty tricks. We will expose the government,” he said.
“The government is committing excesses on farmers who are peacefully protesting on the borders of Delhi. What happened in Gazipur is a clear example of these excesses. None of the farmers have done any damage to anyone, even the court has reiterated that protesting and staging ‘dharna’ is a democratic right of farmers, but the government was witch-hunting farmers,” he said.
Mr. Singh said the government was trying to frame farmers by lodging fake cases against them. “The Delhi police have issued a lookout circular against the farmer leaders named in FIRs, besides the process of asking them to surrender their passports is being initiated. What is all this? Are farmers terrorists? We strongly condemn this,” said Mr. Singh.
Mr. Singh said the Red Fort incident on Republic Day took place on the instance of the government. “Farmers were stopped from moving on routes that were allotted to them by putting barricades while on the other they were allowed to go on roads leading towards the Red Fort. It was the government’s pre-planned conspiracy to defame the farmers and the ongoing movement. I participated in the agitation on the Tikri route on the Republic Day and several obstructions were created by the police though the route was approved,” he said.
Mr. Singh said the government instead of resolving the issue was only busy targeting the agitation to weaken it. “After the Republic Day parade, several tractor-trolleys that had come only to participate in the ‘parade’ were on their way back ... Now, it is being presented as if all the farmers have started going back, which is not true ... the government should not stay in any illusion, farmers are still here, and fresh batches are on their way to join the protest. Farmers from Punjab and Haryana will continue to throng until the government accedes to our demands. “We will not settle on anything less than repealing the three farm laws,” he said.
Mr. Singh said the government should understand that unless the demands of agitating farmers were not met, the protest would continue. “The Central government should listen to people’s sentiments and accept the demands. We are not going anywhere till the demands are met,” he added.