‘The Modi government must tell us what this person’s connection with the BJP is.’
IMAGE: A protestor hoist flags at the Red Fort, January 26, 2021. Photograph: PTI Photo
“We are absolutely pained at the acts of these political elements who tried to disrespect the national flag and bring shame to the nation,” Abhimanyu Kohar, national spokesperson of the Rashtriya Kisan Mahasangh, a constituent of the 41-member Sanyukt Kisan Morcha, tells Prasanna D Zore/Rediff.com.
The Sanyukt Kisan Morcha has always categorically stated that the farmers’ agitation would remain peaceful. What happened during the tractor parade?
At some places there were elements belonging to a political party, who have never been part of the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha from the very first day, and which this government and Delhi police are also well aware of, had entered clandestinely to sabotage our peaceful agitation.
I am talking about this person named Deep Sidhu who had campaigned aggressively for BJP MP Sunny Deol (from Gurdaspur), and who has also been seen in photographs with the prime minister (Narendra Damodardas Modi), who along with his supporters forced their way into the Red Fort even as the Delhi police guarding the premises slept and allowed him to enter the Red Fort.
The Modi government should be held accountable for what he and his supporters did at the Red Fort.
The Modi government must tell us what this person’s connection with the BJP is and how he defied the police barricades around and inside the Red Fort; how he entered the Red Fort and who allowed him to enter the premises and let another person climb atop to engage in acts that brought us national ignominy.
If there were such heavy police deployment, then why did nobody stop him from entering the Red Fort?
The SKM has nothing to do with what happened in Delhi and with the acts of the BJP’s Deep Sidhu. Not even one of the 32 farmers’ unions from Punjab has anything to do with him.
He has been at the Singhu border for more than two months now, but we never entertained him on stage.
SEE: When farmers hoisted flags at the Red Fort
Were all the farmers who entered the Red Fort Deep Sidhu’s supporters?
No. Later our farmers too entered the Red Fort, but none of our farmers vandalised any property or created a ruckus inside the Red Fort.
The hoisting of a religious flag and slogan shouting was done by this person and others he incited. Our farmers have got nothing to do with what happened inside the Red Fort.
Do you expect the Delhi police to arrest him for trespassing into the Red Fort and hoisting the religious flag?
We have called a big meeting of all the farmer leaders and at that meeting we will ask the question: Who are Deep Sidhu’s masters?
Why did this man instigate another person to climb atop the Red Fort and hoist a religious flag and chant slogans ? Who are his political masters? We will ask the government to respond to these questions.
There were instances of violence in other parts of Delhi too as the police and farmers attacked one another…
At Palwal, near Faridabad, farmers were told they would take their tractor rally towards Badarpur and take a U-turn from the first signal near Delhi. But they were not even allowed to reach near Faridabad.
The police brutally assaulted them with lathis, destroyed ten tractors and injured dozens of farmers by hitting them on their heads. Three people suffered fractures on their hands and legs. Who is responsible for this violence?
The Delhi police assaulted the farmers without any provocation?
The top officers from the Delhi police had held very elaborate discussions with our leaders and at these meetings had given verbal permission to take the rally on this route.
Didn’t you have the Delhi police’s written permission to take the tractor parade on this route?
No, the Delhi police had not given us written permission; for some reasons we could not get it. All these issues will be discussed during the meeting today.
If you did not have the Delhi police’s written permission, then how could you use that route for the farmers’ tractor parade?
At the several meetings that we held with Delhi’s top police officers, in which I was also present, they had assured us that they will hold deliberations on our requests and finalise this route for which we had sought the permission for the rally.
We were given verbal assurances repeatedly that they will finalise the route that the farmers had sought the permission for the tractor rally.
But you did not have a written permission to take the tractor rally on this route.
No, we didn’t get it (the written permission from the Delhi police). We kept asking for it, but they didn’t give it.
This is a mass movement and when one has verbal assurances from a senior police officer that they will give us a written permission, then are we not supposed to respect his verbal assurances?
Do you think the high moral ground that the SKM has been taking all these days has been dented?
This violence has not diminished our high moral ground even a bit; in fact, it has magnified the high moral ground on which we have been carrying out our agitation peacefully.
As I have said, the people involved in acts of violence are not constituents of the SKM; we have had no relationship with them.
Having said that, because the farmers’ community is that entity whose sons and daughters are not only toiling hard in the fields to produce food for the nation but are also defending our country’s borders and make up for the bulk of the police force, and whose sons accept martyrdom and come home wrapped in the national tricolour defending the nation, let me categorically state that this farmers’ community absolutely respects the national flag, dying for which is in our blood.
Being so, we are absolutely pained at the acts of these political elements who tried to disrespect the national flag and bring shame to the nation.
If their acts have hurt anybody’s religious or patriotic sentiments then, even though the SKM was not part of their anti-social act, we apologise to the nation because to call for this tractor parade was our decision.
We take the moral responsibility for the entry of such anti-social elements into this parade.