Probe to identify ‘locals’ involved in Singhu violence: Punjab CM
Chandigarh, Jan 29 (IANS) Condemning Friday’s violence by a group of miscreants at Singhu on Delhi-Haryana border, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh urged the Centre to conduct a thorough probe to identify “so-called locals” who broke through tight security to attack farmers and their property.
“Were they really locals?” asked the Chief Minister, while seeking a proper investigation to identify the trouble-makers and ascertain where they came from.
“I can’t believe that local people can turn against farmers like this. Miscreants may have been brought from other places by vested interests to foment trouble,” the senior Congress leader said, adding that locals calling the farmers traitors was not something he could believe to be true.
“What is happening and what happened at Singhu today is what Pakistan wants,” he said, pointing out that he had been warning for a long time that Pakistan will try to exploit the unrest over the farm laws to disturb Punjab’s peace.
Calling for an immediate end to what he dubbed a “vilification campaign against farmers” after the January 26 Red Fort violence, Amarinder warned that maligning the farmers could affect the morale of the armed forces, 20 per cent members of which are from Punjab.
“Spreading false information against protesting farmers can create divisions, which can cause problems for Punjab,” he warned, urging the media to handle the situation with sensitivity.
The Pakistan issue was discussed by him with Union Home Minister during their meeting, over which a lot of noise was created, Amarinder said, adding that he had told Amit Shah that drones were coming from Pakistan with weapons and drugs etc, and while many had been caught in Punjab, some may have passed through.
Central agencies should investigate possible Pakistan role in the recent disturbances and violence during the farmers’ agitation, the Chief Minister demanded.
He advised the farmers as well the central government to continue their dialogue for a genuine settlement.
The senior Congress leader also came down heavily on those calling farmers names. “People have different ideologies but you can’t brand them Leftists, Maoists, Naxals and Khalistanis in this manner,” he quipped.
Reacting to allegations that he (Amarinder) was behind the farmers’ agitation, the Chief Minister said that the “tragic part is that the BJP is indulging in all this without trying to understand why the farmers are angry; why they don’t want the new farm laws.”
“We have small farmers and removal of MSP or ending arhtiya system will hit them hard,” he said, adding that the Centre does not understand the psyche of Punjab farmers.
While the Punjab farmers might have led the agitation initially, the movement had now spread across the country, he asserted.
Reiterating that his sympathies and those of his government and party lie with the protesting farmers, the Punjab Chief Minister said the protesters on the Delhi borders were in the heart of every Indian farmer at present.