New Delhi: A day after police officials clashed with farmers during the tractor rally in Delhi, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha held a press conference on Wednesday and said that they had completely disassociated themselves from the incidents that had taken place at the Red Fort.
The farmers’ body also called off its proposed march to the parliament on February 1.
“On January 31, we’ll hold public rallies across India on behalf of the farmers’ agitation. We will also keep a one-day fast. Our march to the parliament on February 1 stands postponed,” Bhartiya Kisan Union leader Balbir S. Rajewal said.
Farmers’ leaders have also alluded to attempts by the BJP and RSS to defame the movement. “Those who killed Gandhi, also tried to kill the idea of India yesterday,” farmers’ leader Hannan Mollah said.
Rajewal also added that all farmers’ unions had been asked to put in place a complete social boycott of actor Deep Sidhu. Farmers’ leaders also alleged that the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee (KMSC), which had decided to break with the previously decided route and march on the Outer Ring Road, was responsible for the violence that had occurred at different locations in New Delhi.
Samyukta Kisan Morcha also alleged that “antisocial” elements like actor Deep Sidhu had attempted to “torpedo” its peaceful agitation under a conspiracy, but asserted they won’t allow “the government and other forces inimical to the peaceful movement to break this struggle”.
In a statement, the Morcha said, “The Union government has been severely shaken by this peasant agitation. Therefore, a dirty conspiracy was hatched with Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee and others against the peaceful struggle of other farmer organisations, who had set up their own separate protest site after 15 days of beginning of this Farmers’ agitation. They were not part of the organisations which jointly undertook the struggle.”
“When the farmer organisations declared a programme of Kisan Parade on 26 January, antisocial elements like Deep Sidhu and others, along with the said farmer organisation attempted to torpedo the farmers’ agitation.
“Under this conspiracy, the said Kisan organisation and other persons announced that they would march on Ring Road and unfurl a flag on the Red Fort. As a corollary of conspiracy, the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee started marching on the Ring Road, two hours before the scheduled march of the struggling organisations. It was a deep rooted conspiracy to knock down the peaceful and strong farmers’ struggle,” it said.
“We will not to allow the government and other forces inimical to the peaceful movement to break this struggle. Yesterday’s events exposed and isolated the anti-farmer forces clearly. An emergency meeting of 32 organizations is called today to chalk out the future programme,” it said.
The morcha, which represents 41 farmer unions, has also called an emergency meeting to decide the future course of action.
Strict action against culprits, says Delhi police
Simultaneously, the Delhi Police commissioner S.N. Srivastava also held a press conference from the police headquarters and alleged that farmers’ leaders had breached their trust and made inflammatory speeches. Srivastava said farmer unions did not follow conditions set for the rally that was supposed to be held from 12 PM to 5 PM with 5,000 tractors and accused them of betrayal.
As many as 25 criminal cases have been registered and 19 people arrested so far, Srivastava said. Fifty protestors have been detained.
An official said that violence during the tractor rally would be investigated by a joint team of crime branch, special cell and district units of Delhi Police. “We are using the facial recognition system and taking the help of CCTV and video footage to identify the accused. Strict action will be taken against those identified. No culprit will be spared,” the commissioner said.
He said that 394 police personnel were injured while 30 police vehicles and 428 barricades were damaged in the violence on Wednesday.
As many as 37 farmer leaders, including Rakesh Tikait, Yogendra Yadav, Medha Patkar, Darshan Pal and Gurnam Singh Chaduni, have been named in an FIR in connection with the violence during the tractor parade.
Responding to the charges levelled at the press conference held by the Delhi Police commissioner, Yogendra Yadav said that FIRs and detentions were a part of every movement. Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait added that the movement would continue peacefully on the borders of New Delhi.
Additionally, the Delhi Police has not taken any action against Deep Sidhu and Lakha Sidhana or the chiefs of the KMSC who have been accused by the farmers’ leaders of creating the mayhem on Republic Day.
According to Indian Express, two farmer unions, the Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangathan and Bharatiya Kisan Union (Bhanu), announced that they were leaving the main movement of the farmers.
Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangathan leader V.M. Singh reportedly referred to Bharatiya Kisan Union spokesperson Rakesh Tikait and said that his organisation could not support a movement with people who “want to take it in another direction”. Singh said the focus of his outfit is only on the MSP guarantee.
(With inputs from PTI)