New Delhi: A scuffle broke out between some local BJP workers and the protesting farmers at the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border at Ghazipur on Wednesday. Later, the BJP men held a protest near the office of the local police chief, demanding that immediate action be taken against the farmers who have been blocking the highway since November last year.
The farmers objected when they saw the BJP men, carrying party flags, gathering at the protest site at around noon. They showed black flags to the BJP men, setting off an altercation which turned violent. Stones were thrown and the BJP leaders’ car was allegedly attacked.
The ruckus took place as BJP workers were taking out a procession on a flyway where the farm law protesters, chiefly supporters of the Bharatiya Kisan Union, have been camping. As the two sides came near each other on the Delhi-Meerut Expressway at around 12 noon, a scuffle broke out and they fought with sticks, which led to some injuries. Videos and pictures surfaced on the social media, purportedly showing some damaged vehicles that were part of a cavalcade of a BJP politician, Amit Valmiki, who was on his way to Bulandshahr.
The farmers’ leaders, however, alleged that the episode was yet another “conspiracy by the government” to quell their protests against the three controversial farm laws and to give them a bad name.
Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar, meanwhile, reiterated on Wednesday that the protesting farmers’ unions should not be adamant on the repeal of the new farm laws, adding that making it a precondition for talks with the government does not serve any purpose.
Samyukta Kisan Morcha spokesman Jagtar Singh Bajwa claimed that the farmers at the Ghazipur border had asked the district administration and government officials to remove the party workers as they were creating a ruckus on the pretext of a rally. “They misbehaved with the farmers and damaged their own vehicles as part of a conspiracy. This conspiracy is not going to succeed as such tactics to end the farmers’ protest have been used in the past too,” Mr Bajwa said.
“We are going to lodge a complaint with the police on today’s incident, and if no action is taken, we shall plan our strategy accordingly,” he said. “We condemn the ruckus created by the BJP workers,” Mr Bajwa said, adding that such tactics won’t work as the farmers’ stir has been peaceful for the last seven months and will continue to be so in the future.
“An investigation is in progress”, the police said.
Mr Khattar also said that only a “handful of people” were opposing the farm laws, and that “ordinary farmers are happy”. He added: “Those spearheading the agitation are in reality not farmers. The real farmers have no objection to the farm laws, they are happy.” He said those who are opposing the farm laws are doing so for political reasons.
“Their Punjab team is doing so as polls are approaching there. But there are no polls due in our state. Here the agenda is to defame the government, using the political angle. The Congress is also supporting them in doing this,” Mr Khattar claimed.
The Haryana CM said the word kisan (farmer) is a sacred one, but some incidents like the alleged sexual exploitation of a West Bengal woman at the Tikri border last month have “prompted people to raise questions”.