On Friday, clashes broke out between protesters and locals at the Singhu border.
New Delhi: After the farmers’ protest turned ugly on Republic Day, political parties have started blaming each other. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which has been supporting the agitation against the farm laws, condemned the violence during the tractor parade on Tuesday. AAP blamed the Center for the law-and-order situation deteriorating, while the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) blamed AAP and Congress for allegedly sending members of their Punjab cadre to join the rally. On Friday afternoon, clashes broke out between protesters and a group of “locals” at the Singhu border, forcing police to use tear gas to control the situation. Meanwhile, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi addressed a press conference and asked why people had been allowed inside the Red Fort and why they had not been stopped. “I want to say to the farmers that we are with you, do not step back even by an inch, do not let them take your lands,” Gandhi said.
Naveen Kumar, BJP Delhi’s Media Head, told The Sunday Guardian: “MLAs and supporters of AAP and Congress were involved in the violence of 26 January. Several official state accounts of Congress hailed the disrespect towards our national flag on the Red Fort. All these political leaders were demanding why tractor rallies cannot happen in Delhi and the government should give the permission. Everyone witnessed the chaos that happened that day. So many police officials were injured that day. Arvind Kejriwal and Rahul Gandhi didn’t say or do anything. Our Home Minister Amit Shah visited the hospitals. These parties have proved that it was never farmers’ protests; rather it was their political agenda.”
The AAP in a statement said, “We strongly condemn the violence seen in today (Tuesday)’s protest. Regrettably, the Central government allowed the situation to deteriorate to such an extent. The movement has been peaceful for the last two months.”
Delhi Congress chief Anil Chaudhary also condemned the violence and said that the BJP-led government at the Center was “instigating the farmers”. Meanwhile, Delhi BJP President Adesh Gupta said the “Kisan Andolan” is no longer under the control of the farmer’s bodies.
On Thursday, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal while addressing a press conference said that the violence that happened on Republic Day is “unfortunate”. “The farmers of our country are in distress. The people and the parties who are the real culprits should be given the strictest punishment. But violence does not mean that farmers’ issues are over. The movement of the farmers due to which they are sitting on the borders for the last 60 days, is not over. The support should be non-political and you should support them as a common man,” Kejriwal said.
Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh hit out at Union Minister Prakash Javadekar over his remarks concerning violence during tractor parade by farmers on Republic Day and said it was a “disgraceful and desperate attempt” to shift the blame.
The Chief Minister said violence had “evidently been instigated by supporters and members of his own BJP in collusion with the Aam Aadmi Party with the Congress nowhere in the picture”. “Workers and supporters of BJP and AAP, and not the Congress, have been caught on camera waving the Nishan Sahib at the Red Fort,” the Chief Minister said.
The Sunday Guardian tried to reach out to Delhi Congress President Anil Chaudhary but didn’t receive any response till the time the story went to press.