Amarinder slams Khattar for defending assault on farmers

Amarinder slams Khattar for defending assault on farmers
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. (Photo: Qamar Sibtain/ IANS)

Chandigarh, Aug 30 (IANS) Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Monday slammed his Haryana counterpart Manohar Lal Khattar for defending the "criminal assault on peacefully protesting farmers" by putting the onus of their agitation on his state, saying Khattar's remarks had completely exposed his government's "anti-farmer agenda".

The Punjab Chief Minister reminded Khattar and his deputy Dushyant Chautala that the farmers who were protesting against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) meeting in Karnal when the police baton charged them belonged to Haryana and not Punjab.

He was reacting to Khattar's and Chautala's allegations of Punjab being behind the farmers' agitation against the farm laws.

Blaming the BJP squarely for the farmers' wrath, Amarinder Singh said the crisis would not have assumed "such grave proportions" had the BJP, including the Haryana CM and Deputy CM, heeded the farmers' concerns and empathised with their pain, instead of "taking refuge in shameful lies for the horrendous attacks on the peaceful farmers".

He trashed Khattar's claim that the Haryana Police used force only after the farmers disturbed the state's law and order, citing the viral video of an official purportedly giving explicit instructions to the cops to bash up the farmers "nailed the CM's lies".

"How did the SDM know that the farmers intended to resort to stone pelting, etc, as claimed by Khattar?" Amarinder Singh asked.

"Can't you see that the farmers of your own state are angry with you for your apathetic attitude towards them and your party's stubborn refusal to repeal the farm laws?" he asked the Haryana leaders, adding the farmers were fighting for their survival and did not need provocation from Punjab or any other state to protect themselves and their families.

"The sentiment of the entire country was with the farmers in the matter of the draconian and blatantly undemocratic farm laws, imposed by the BJP-led central government in the midst of the Covid pandemic," said Amarinder Singh, adding that the BJP's adamant refusal to revoke the legislations reflected the "vested interests" of the party and its leadership.

"Repeal the farm laws instead of blaming Punjab for the mess your party has put the farming sector in," said Amarinder Singh, warning that the BJP would have to pay for their sins in the upcoming Assembly elections in various states, and in every poll thereafter.

"The Khattar government's repeated attempts to forcibly end the farmers' agitation, and the derogatory and obnoxious terms used against farmers by various BJP leaders, will only backfire on their party," he added.

Recalling that the farmers had held protests across Punjab for two months before shifting focus to the Delhi borders, the Chief Minister pointed out that his state had not witnessed a single incident of violence during the period.

"Even recently, when sugarcane farmers staged protests, we negotiated with them and resolved the issue instead of using brute force to try and subjugate them," he added.