Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today came down heavily on the Central government for targeting Punjab’s farm agent, known as arhtiyas, through income-tax raids and notices. He alleged that the government was adopting such coercive measures to weaken the farmers’ protest.
Several arhtiyas of Punjab have reportedly been served income tax notices and many have been raided on short notices by the department over the past many days. Thesecommission agents or farm agents have reportedly been backing the ongoing farmers’ agitation against three new central agricultural laws.
“The centre is carrying out income tax raids against Punjab’s businessmen who have been supporting the farmers’ struggle. Harassing businessmen this way is wrong,” Mr Kejriwal tweeted today, along with the screenshot of a newspaper clip of the news.
“This is being done to weaken the farmers’ movement. Today the entire nation with the farmers. Who all will the central government raid?” he asked.
The Delhi Chief Minister’s criticism of the Centre comes a day after his Punjab counterpart, Amarinder Singh, said these raids were an obvious pressure tactic to curb the farm agents’ democratic right and freedom. He said up to 14 arhtiyas across Punjab had received notices from the IT department and that they were being raided within only four days of receiving the notices.
“What is this if not a clear case of vendetta politics by the Centre, which is hell-bent on demolishing the farmers’ protest by hook or by crook?” Chief Minister Singh asked on Saturday in a statement issued by his office.