Tuesday, 4 October, 2022
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Cracks appear among farmer unions after R-Day violence as 2 groups withdraw from protests

Bharatiya Kisan Union (Bhanu) and Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangathan have announced their withdrawal from protests citing Tuesday’s violence.

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New Delhi: Cracks seem to be appearing in the farmers’ protests as two of the organisations — the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Bhanu) and the Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangathan — have announced their decision to withdraw from the agitation. 

Both organisations cited the violence that broke out during the tractor rally in Delhi on Republic Day for their decisions. The violence has left 86 police personnel and several farmers injured. Two protesters have also lost their lives.

Sources said that BKU president Bhanu Singh Thakur has announced his withdrawal while V.M. Singh, who heads the Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangathan, told reporters at the Ghazipur border that his union can’t be part of the “directionless” protest, especially after what happened on Republic Day.

Singh had last month been removed from the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee, an umbrella organisation representing over 250 farmer groups. 

While members of the Bhartiya Kisan Union (Bhanu) had been protesting at the Chilla border, blocking traffic entering Delhi from Noida, the Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangathan was camped at the Ghazipur border. 

Blame game begins over violence 

There was more discontent at the farmers’ protest at the Singhu border Wednesday, a day after the violence, with the Kisan Samyukta Morcha, which is leading the agitation, declaring an open war against the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee (KMSC).

Speaking on the Samyukta Kisan Morcha stage Wednesday afternoon, Balbir Singh Rajewal, president of BKU (Rajewal), alleged that the KMSC leaders worked in collaboration with the Delhi Police and government of India for money to ruin and vilify the ‘Kisan Republic Day Parade’. 

“Senior police officials of Delhi met the leaders of the KSMC on Monday night and the entire plan was laid out,” Rajewal said. “We were supposed to start our parade on the finalised route the next morning at 10 am but the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee protesters left the Singhu border at 7am and poised themselves on our routes.”

“Can anybody believe that on Republic Day there were no security men who bothered to stop the protesters near the Red Fort? For four hours there were no police there at all,” Rajewal claimed. “Is this possible without the connivance of the police and the government? Governments are known to fail protests one way or the other but this government has stooped this low.” 

‘We did no wrong’

The KMSC committee president Swaran Singh Pandher denied all charges and blamed the morcha leaders for allegedly collaborating with the Delhi Police in changing the parade routes at the last minute. “That led to disappointment among everyone participating in the movement. What we did strengthened the movement. We had nothing to do with the Red Fort episode,” he said. 

The KMSC, which also has its stage at the Singhu border a few kilometers ahead of the official stage of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha, is not part of the 32 organisations from Punjab that heralded the agitation. 

Pannu, however, admitted that his organisation had broken barriers and entered Delhi through the Ring Road but claimed that they were peaceful. He vehemently denied any involvement in the Red Fort incident where actor turned activist Deep Sidhu had led a group to hoist the kisan union and Khalsa flag in the Red Fort lawns.

“The persons responsible for that incident have been sitting at the Singhu border for the past two months,” Pannu said. “They had the government’s support for what they did at the Red Fort. It should be investigated how they reached there and who did what.”

Protests to continue

The other farmer organisations, under the umbrella body Samyukta Kisan Morcha are continuing with the agitation for now. 

The morcha is holding an internal meeting Wednesday to review its future course of action and identify who all were responsible for yesterday’s violence. 

The Delhi Police has meanwhile booked nine farmer union leaders including the Bharatiya Kisan Union’s Rakesh Tikait in connection with the violence.  

The government has also not decided on whether it will make an offer for fresh talks with farmer unions. “No decision has been taken on whether there will be more talks,” a top government source said. 

A section of BJP leaders want the government to harden its stand and discontinue talks in the light of what happened on Republic Day. 


Also read: Heavy police deployment, barricades, check points — Delhi a day after it was raided by farmers


 

 

 

 

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1 COMMENT

  1. I wonder about these rallies and protests; allowed by our hallowed constitution? Lakhs of people on public property, denying its use to other citizens, in itself a violation of basic rights, creating confusion and in many cases vandalizing all in the way. The police can’t, of course, use any force to control them and in all cases suffer unwanted causalities. In the end all that is left is damage and a bad taste.
    Hey Indians, are you under the impression that a few “Union leaders” who have a huge disconnect with the crowd (turned into a mob) they profess to “command” can control these lakhs of disoriented people in various state of mind, themselves unsure of what really is happening? If so, I am sure you must be actually joking.
    These shenanigans are allowed in the name of “Right to protest” as if that is the ultimate in all rights. Part of the media hail it as acts of democracy. This same media has failed miserably to pursue our elected representatives to have meaningful discussion on National matters in the hallowed Houses – but are vociferous to give a “ball by ball” commentary on these “protests”.
    And we want to progress, become a world leader. If we allow these to continue, we will surely remain a laggard democracy and China and the rest of the world will race far ahead, as they probably are already.
    Whose Nation is it anyway?”

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