As thousands of farmers from Punjab and Haryana continued their protest against the central government’s three agricultural reforms, Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar said on Saturday there were inputs that there were some unwanted elements among the agitating crowds.
“We have inputs of some such unwanted elements in the crowd. We have reports and will disclose once we have concrete evidence. They raised such slogans. In videos, they said ‘jab Indira Gandhi ko ye kar sakte hain, to Modi ko kyu nahi kar sakte,” Khattar said after he was asked by a reporter whether there was a Khalistani connection.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alleged that a Khalistani agenda was being orchestrated during the ongoing protests in Punjab. The BJP’s I-T cell chief Amit Malviya tweeted a video on Friday where a man could be heard threatening Prime Minister Narendra Modi by referring to Indira Gandhi’s assassination if the talks on December 3 failed to resolve the issues of farmers.
Meanwhile, Union agricultural minister Narendra Singh Tomar assured the protesting farmers that the Centre is ready for talks with farm unions on December 3 and urged all political parties to ‘playing politics in the name of farmers’.
The Haryana chief minister had earlier appealed to the farmers to discontinue their protests adding they should directly talk to the Centre for all their legitimate issues and that solution will only come through conversation.
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“The central government is always ready for talks. I appeal to all the farming brothers to directly talk to the Centre for all their legitimate issues. The movement is not its way – the solution will come out of the conversation,” Khattar’s tweet on Friday roughly translated from Hindi read.
Multiple clashes have been reported in the past few days between the agitating farmers and the police in Delhi, Haryana and other adjoining states with the latter resorting to tear gas, water cannons and barricades to disperse the protesting farmers. On Friday evening, the Delhi Police allowed these farmers to enter the national capital and carry out peaceful demonstrations at the Samagam Ground in Burari.
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The farmers have been asking for the removal of the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Service Act, 2020, and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020. The laws were passed during the monsoon session of Parliament in September.
While the Narendra Modi-led government has said these laws would eliminate middlemen and enable farmers to sell their produce in commercial markets, farmers fear that big corporations would exercise control over them. Farmers also fear they would be denied the right to the minimum support price (MSP) for their produce, thereby disrupting timely payments.