New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alleged Friday that the Khalistani agenda is being propagated under the garb of the Punjab farmers’ agitation and accused the Congress — which is in office in the state — of aligning with radical elements.
BJP IT cell in-charge Amit Malviya tweeted a purported video of protesting farmers where a man is heard citing PM Indira Gandhi’s assassination in an apparent bid to threaten PM Modi should their 3 December discussions with the government fail to resolve their grievances against the farm laws.
Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards on 31 October 1984, when the Khalistani insurgency was raging in Punjab. The assassination followed the Operation Bluestar siege on the Golden Temple — which led to the killing of Khalistani insurgent Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale — that took place four months earlier.
The person in the video is heard saying “Indira thok di, Modi ki chhati par…” before his words become difficult to decipher. The video also includes purported media reports about Khalistan-related banners popping up at some protest venues.
इंदिरा ठोक दी… मोदी की छाती पर…
What kind of farmer agitation is this? Is Capt Amarinder Singh playing with fire? When will Congress realise that politics of aligning with radical elements has reached its sell date? pic.twitter.com/dNg7871KZ2
— Amit Malviya (@amitmalviya) November 27, 2020
Tajinder Bagga, who is the spokesperson of the Delhi BJP, also posted a number of videos and retweeted posts suggesting that the farmers protest is politically motivated, and blamed the Congress for it.
“Anyone who raises the slogan ‘Khalistan Zindabad’ can never be a farmer. A farmer is a patriot, a farmer cannot go against the country. Those who are chanting the slogan of ‘Khalistan zindabad’ are Congress agents,” he tweeted.
खालिस्तान जिंदाबाद का नारा लगाने वाला कभी किसान नही हो सकता, किसान देशभक्त है, किसान देश के खिलाफ जा ही नही सकता, खालिस्तान जिंदाबाद के नारा लगाने वाले कांग्रेस के दल्ले है ।
— Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga (@TajinderBagga) November 27, 2020
However, a Delhi BJP member, Impreet Singh Bakshi, urged social media users to refrain from labelling the farmers Khalistanis, saying the protesters “might be misguided” by the leaders of the Congress, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) or the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
Its my humble request to all SM Users who are abusing Punjab farmers & labelling them as khalistani, is not at all right, they are also our brothers, sister's and elderly people!!🙏
They might be misguided by Congress/Akali/ AAP leader's bcoz majority of middlemen belong to them.
— Impreet Singh Bakshi ਇਮਪ੍ਰੀਤ ਸਿੰਘ ਬਖ਼ਸ਼ੀ (@impreetsbakshi) November 27, 2020
Several farmers’ organisations, especially in Punjab and Haryana, have been protesting against the three farm laws that have also been termed anti-farmer by the opposition. One of their major demands is that MSP be made a legal provision to assure a better price to farmers.
Thousands of protesting farmers entered Haryana Thursday from various entry points at its border with Punjab, braving water cannons and tear gas shells on day one of their two-day ‘Dilli Chalo’ rally against the farm laws. The farmers entered Delhi Friday, where they are likely to hold their protest in Burari, according to farmers’ organisations.
The Modi government had passed the three farm laws in September. They are the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act — pitching them as major reforms aimed at empowering farmers. However, farmers bodies in Punjab have said the laws undermine their interests.
In light of the farmers’ protests, the Congress, which has been critical of the three farm laws, has started a social media campaign “#IamWithFarmers”. Congress MP Rahul Gandhi said Friday that “the Modi government has to accept the demands of the farmers and black laws will have to be withdrawn”.
PM को याद रखना चाहिए था जब-जब अहंकार सच्चाई से टकराता है, पराजित होता है।
सच्चाई की लड़ाई लड़ रहे किसानों को दुनिया की कोई सरकार नहीं रोक सकती।
मोदी सरकार को किसानों की माँगें माननी ही होंगी और काले क़ानून वापस लेने होंगे।
ये तो बस शुरुआत है!#IamWithFarmers
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) November 27, 2020
Soon after this, the BJP started a counter hashtag, “#ModiWithFarmers”, saying the “agricultural reform laws have truly given farmers freedom from years of injustice”.
आजादी के बाद जो नियम-कायदे बने, उनमें किसानों को बिचौलियों के हाथों में छोड़ दिया गया था।
कृषि सुधार कानूनों से सच्चे अर्थ में किसानों को वर्षों के अन्याय से मुक्ति मिली है।
— BJP (@BJP4India) November 27, 2020
This report has been updated with additional information, and to clarify that Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards.