Farmers’ stir: Parliament march called off, two unions end protest, key bodies stick to stand

On the other hand, the SKM leaders, in a joint statement, claimed a conspiracy was hatched by the government with Punjab-based Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee and others against their peaceful struggle.

Farmer unions have cancelled the planned march to Parliament on February 1, keeping in view the violence in Delhi during the tractor rally on Tuesday. The Delhi Police arrested over 200 people in connection with the violence and registered about 25 FIRs.

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Following the violence, two farmer organisations of Uttar Pradesh — Bharatiya Kisan Union (Bhanu) and Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangathan — on Wednesday ended their protest and dissociated themselves from the agitation. However, leaders of Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) sought to downplay the development, claiming these organisations were not part of the umbrella body and declared that the protest against the three contentious farm laws would continue till they are repealed.

“I am deeply pained by whatever happened in Delhi yesterday (Tuesday) and ending our 58-day protest,” said Bhanu Pratap Singh, president of BKU (Bhanu), who also is one of the few farmer leaders who filed petition in the Supreme Court to declare the laws unconstitutional.

VM Singh, president of Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangathan (RKMS), said: “I can’t carry forward protest with someone whose direction is different. I wish them best and withdrawing from the protest considering what happened on the Republic Day.” Singh of RKMS was removed as coordinator of the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSS) in December last year after differences between him and other leaders, even though he continued the protest at Ghazipur border of Delhi.

On the other hand, the SKM leaders, in a joint statement, claimed a conspiracy was hatched by the government with Punjab-based Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee and others against their peaceful struggle.

“The Union government has been severely shaken by this peasant agitation. Therefore, a dirty conspiracy was hatched with Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee (KMSC) 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,” the statement said.

The SKM leaders also said that when they announced Kisan Parade on January 26, anti-social elements like Deep Sidhu and others, along with KMSC, attempted to torpedo the farmers’ agitation. The union leaders appealed to the farmers to stay on the protest venues and continue a peaceful struggle after some farmers returned to Punjab. The farmers’ organisations resolved to continue this agitation, according to the statement issued before a general body meeting of 40 unions.

Seemed unrepentant of the incident, KMSC president Satnam Singh Pannu said, “We had declared at the outset that we would take the Outer Ring Road. Even the SKM had also said so, but it backed out later. We broke barricades only when the police stopped us.”

Meanwhile, the Delhi Police has registered an FIR against farmer leader Rakesh Tikait, spokesperson of BKU (Tikait), and others in connection with the violence in the national capital during the tractor rally. Police has detained 200 people and have registered about 25 FIRs so far, in connection with the violence that left over 394 policemen injured, said SN Shrivastav, commissioner of Delhi Police. Apart from Tikait, many other leaders are also named in the FIRs. Any FIR against any farmer leader is FIR against farmers of the country, PTI reports, quoting Tikait.

The Congress raised objection over the registration of FIR against farm leaders and criticised the government for letting out the perpetrators of violence. Claiming that Deep Sidhu is yet to be booked, Congress spokesman Randeep Surjewala on Wednesday demanded home minister Amit Shah’s resignation. He said it was failure of Shah for the second time in Delhi after the February 2020 riots as this time “miscreants were allowed to enter the protected Red Fort”.

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