Shiv Sena MP, Sanjay Raut, has criticised the central government for treating protesting farmers like “terrorists” and for calling them “Khalistanis”. Since their agitation, which began on November 26, farmers from Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan, were denied entry to Delhi. They were stopped with water cannons, lathi charges, and tear gas. One farmer even lost his life.
Raut criticised these extreme measures to push back the protesting farmers. “The way farmers have been stopped from entering Delhi… it looks as if they do not belong to this country. They have been treated like terrorists. Since they are Sikh and come from Punjab or Haryana, they are called Khalistani. It is an insult to farmers,” Raut told reporters in Mumbai.
Samajwadi Party chief, Akhilesh Yadav, and Bahujan Samajwadi Party’s Mayawati also criticised the Centre over its treatment of the protesting farmers.
Yadav said the BJP is “humiliating the farmers by calling them terrorists” and alleged that the BJP’s actions were “a conspiracy… (to) support the rich”. “If the BJP says the farmers are terrorists, the party should swear they will not consume produce grown by farmers,” he said.
Mayawati said the Centre should draw up a new law in consultation with farmers.
Meanwhile, Punjab’s farmers did not agree to Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s condition to move protests to Burari site for talks to be held.
The farmers from Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan set out on a “Dilli Chalo” march on November 26, fully prepared for a long haul of protests by carrying food and essential supplies with them.
After setting up of barricades and digging trenches to prevent farmers from entering Delhi, the government finally allowed farmers through the Tikri border into the national capital.
Manohar Lal Khattar, Chief Minister of Haryana, had blamed Captain Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister of Punjab, for the farmers protesting, the latter rubbished these claims.
The farmers are protesting against the three farm laws, introduced by the Centre, which removes the intervention of middlemen and allows farmers to directly sell their produce anywhere in the country.
Farmers and opposition parties allege that the laws will dismantle guaranteed minimum price system, leaving them at the “mercy” of corporates. The farmers have demanded that either the three legislations be repealed or the minimum price system be guaranteed.
(With agency inputs)