Do I need to spell out where the cheap politics and deception is happening, Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh shot back at his Haryana counterpart, who had accused him of “putting the lives of people in danger during the Coronavirus pandemic” with the farmers’ “Delhi Chalo” protest.
“It seems your government has been so busy creating the bogey of the non-existent ‘love jihad’ that you couldn’t see the real problems of farmers on ground ML Khattar ji,” Mr Singh wrote about the Haryana government’s crackdown on farmers.
He further called out the farmers’ apparent mistrust in Haryana government’s promise to continue with the minimum support price (MSP) system. “Why are Haryana farmers are marching to Delhi?” Mr Singh questioned on being accused of “inciting farmers”.
.@capt_amarinder ji, I’ve said it earlier and I’m saying it again, I’ll leave politics if there’ll be any trouble on the MSP – therefore, please stop inciting innocent farmers.
— Manohar Lal (@mlkhattar) November 26, 2020
The “Delhi Chalo” march, which has been in planning for two months by 500-odd organisations, became the subject of heated back and forth between the Punjab and Haryana chief ministers on Thursday as police in the latter state used tear gas shells and water cannons in coldwave-like conditions to stop farmers from reaching the national capital.
On India’s Constitution Day on Thursday, Captain Amarinder Singh’s flagged the “irony” of police action against farmers marching peacefully as a violation of their constitutional right.
For nearly 2 months farmers have been protesting peacefully in Punjab without any problem. Why is Haryana govt provoking them by resorting to force? Don’t the farmers have the right to pass peacefully through a public highway? @mlkhattarpic.twitter.com/NWyFwqOXEu
— Capt.Amarinder Singh (@capt_amarinder) November 26, 2020
Mr Singh had urged Mr Khattar to let the farmers cross Haryana to make their voice heard in Delhi.
“Don’t push them to the brink… The hands that feed the nation deserve to be held, not pushed aside,” read another tweet by Mr Singh, who also tagged the BJP urging it to tell governments of states where it is in power – Haryana and Uttar Pradesh – “not to indulge in such strong-arm tactics against the farmers”.
Activist Yogendra Yadav also criticised the BJP-governed states of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh for preventing farmers from protesting. He said any police action would only emboldened more farmers to join in.
“Three lakh farmers are marching… the number show the extent of anger (against the laws),” he said, targetting Haryana Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala – who has often said he was a farmers’ representative in the state government – to step down and apologise to the farmers.
The activist was later detained in Gurgaon along with around 50 farmers as they attempted to cross into Delhi to join the nationwide protest by 500-odd farmers’ organisations against the recently enacted farm laws.
Activist Medha Patkar and many famers were also stopped by the UP Police at Rajasthan border and later detained.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also tweeted in support of allowing farmers to express their voice against the three farm laws. Farmers have said the three laws threaten their livelihood in absence of guaranteed MSP for the produce.
“All the three farm laws of the central government are anti-farmer. Instead of withdrawing these laws, farmers are being prevented from holding peaceful demonstrations, water canons are being run on them. This crime is absolutely wrong. Peaceful demonstration is their constitutional right,” the AAP chief said.
The central government maintains that the laws are meant to bring reforms and improve farmers’ earnings by allowing them to sell their produce in the commercial market, anywhere in the country. The BJP-led dispensation has also accused opposition parties of trying to mislead farmers on provisions of these laws.
The farmers and opposition parties have demanded that these laws should be repealed, or the MSP system should be woven into the law.
The “Delhi Chalo” march is to press for these demands, for which farmers across the country have been protesting for months.
Farmers from six states – Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Kerala and Punjab – have been planning the November 26-27 march for two months.
They had sought permissions from the Haryana government to march to Delhi, which was denied. The state further ordered barricading of highways connecting Punjab and Delhi to Haryana, many districts of which must be crossed to reach the national capital. The state also put several leaders of farmers’ organisation in preventive custody on Tuesday.
The Delhi Police, which comes under the central government, had also denied permission to hold rallies in the city, saying anyone who violates this rule would face legal action.