Farmers’ leader Rakesh Singh Tikait attacked in Bengaluru

An unidentified person throws ink on BKU spokesperson and farmer leader Rakesh Tikait during an event, in Bengaluru, on May 30

An unidentified person throws ink on BKU spokesperson and farmer leader Rakesh Tikait during an event, in Bengaluru, on May 30 | Photo Credit: PTI

Farmers’ leader Rakesh Singh Tikait, who was in Bengaluru to address a press conference at Gandhi Bhavan on Monday, was attacked by a group of three men out of the blue during the event.

As he was seated on the dais and another farmers’ leader was addressing the media, a man rushed to the stage and attacked Mr. Tikait with a television mic. Before Mr. Tikait recovered from it, another man threw black ink on him. One of the attackers shouted slogans saying, “Modi, Modi”.

Other farmers in the hall soon rushed to catch the culprits. As they tried to flee, some threw chairs at them and they were soon caught and handed over to the police.

Mr. Tikait was in the city to address allegations made by another farmers’ leader - Kodihalli Chandrashekhar - in a sting operation recently aired by a Kannada news channel. Mr. Chandrashekhar had allegedly claimed Mr. Tikait had been trying to broker an end to the 13-month-long farmers’ movement in New Delhi by taking money and colluding with the Union government.

The police have detained three persons and taken them to the High Grounds police station for inquiry.

“It is a conspiracy by the BJP and failure on the part of the government to provide security cover despite requests being made a day before the programme,” one of the organisers alleged.

Mr. Tikait, speaking to media persons, condemned the physical attack on him at the press conference earlier in the day.

"I never expected a physical assault in Karnataka. A media channel that had done the sting operation was asking provocative questions with an aim to increase their TRP. Then suddenly a person walked up to the stage and hit me with a mic. Luckily, I used my hand to block the blows, failing which I would have suffered a head injury. My hands are swollen," he said, adding the incident was a failure of the State government. "There were intelligence people in the room. How did this happen? This was a pre-planned attack. I demand the police conduct a fair probe into the incident and bring to book all those behind the incident," he said.

Another farmers’ leader Yuddhaveer Singh, who was also present at the press conference, said given that the attackers carried a poster of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and shouted “Modi Modi”, it was up to the ruling dispensation to conduct a fair probe.

State farmers’ leader Chukki Nanjundaswamy has announced a black flag protest across the State on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Mr. Tikait denied all allegations made against him by Mr. Chandrashekhar. “The allegations are baseless and without any evidence. Farmers’ movement is a historic movement that forced the Union government to roll back the three farm laws. Yes, we were negotiating with the government, but not to broker an end to protest,” he said.

When quizzed whether he suspected the involvement of Mr. Chandrashekhar, he said the police must probe everyone, Mr. Chandrashekhar, the news channel or any others.

Condemning the attack on Mr. Tikait, KPCC president D. K. Shivakumar said that the attack had brought dishonour to the State. “This is a pre-planned attack when he was participating in a meeting to discuss farmers’ welfare. The Chief Minister (Basavaraj Bommai) has said that he would bring a good name for the State and Bengaluru at the international level. But such incidents do not augur well for the state’s honour. The Congress supports Mr. Tikait,” said Mr. Shivakumar, who met the farmers’ leader after the attack.

Leader of the Opposition in Legislative Assembly Siddaramaiah too condemned the attack on Mr. Tikait.

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Printable version | Aug 7, 2022 7:09:16 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/farmer-leader-rakesh-tikait-attacked-in-bengaluru/article65475617.ece