Form Groups, Show Protestors 'Jaise Ko Taisa', Haryana CM Tells BJP Kisan Morcha

Manohar Lal Khattar told the BJP's farmers' arm to pick up sticks and not worry about going to jail, as they will 'go down in history'.

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New Delhi: Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar, while addressing a meeting of the BJP’s kisan morcha in Chandigarh on Sunday, October 3, told attendees to form groups of 500-1000 and show protesting farmers “jaise ko taisa” (tit for tat).

During the speech, Khattar also allegedly told the attendees to “take up sticks” against the farmers and told them not to worry if they are put in jail for three to six months. “… you will become big leaders, your names will be etched in history,” the Times of India quoted him as saying.

After footage of his speech was circulated widely on social media, members from the opposition Congress party as well as those belonging to the Samyukt Kisan Morcha, the umbrella body of farmers’ unions which is leading the protests against the farm laws in the country, heavily criticised Khattar’s remarks.

Gourav Vallabh, a Congress spokesperson, even called for the chief minister’s dismissal, telling reporters, “”We demand that Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar should be sacked immediately. Such a chief minister who despite holding a constitutional post is instigating BJP workers against farmers, does not deserve to occupy the post.”

He also noted that he was “looking forward” to the Supreme Court taking cognisance of Khattar’s remarks and the consequent actions it will take.

Randeep Singh Surjewala, Congress general secretary, took to Twitter to voice his opposition to Khattar’s words. 

He described Khattar’s speech as a “guru mantra” which he saw as a call to arms to BJP supporters to attack the protesting farmers with sticks. He noted that this plan would “never be successful”. He went on to say that Khattar’s “call to spread anarchy” while occupying a post in the government amounts to “treason”.

In another Tweet, Surjewala claimed that, through Khattar’s speech, the BJP’s “anti-farmer conspiracy got busted” and that the rule of law cannot run in a state where “the chief minister of the state talks about spreading violence, breaking the society and destroying the law and order”.

Demands for Khattar’s resignation were echoed by the Samyukt Kisan Morcha, claiming that the government is acting with “murderous intent” even as the farmers’ movement has explicitly held the values of “peace and non-violence”, as reported by the Hindu.

The morcha also made reference to sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) Ayush Sinha, who had been caught on a viral social media video instructing police officers to “break the heads” of protesting farmers, stating that Khattar’s words explain why officials like Sinha get impunity for their actions.

The chief minister’s call for violence gained even more traction as it was coming at a time when four protesting farmers and four others were killed by a car allegedly part of a Union minister’s son’s convoy in Uttar Pradesh’s Lakhimpur Kheri.

Khattar’s media advisor, Amit Arya, has contested the criticism coming out against the chief minister and has issued a statement saying that the particular portion of the clip is being circulated to create a wrong impression.

(With PTI inputs)