Condemning the National Investigation Agency (NIA)’s bid to issue notices and summons to several farmer leaders and their supporters in the midst of their anti-farm laws agitation, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh today said that such “arm-twisting tactics“ would not weaken the resolve of the farmers to fight for their rights and their future.
“Do these farmers look like secessionists and terrorists?” asked the Punjab CM, slamming the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government at the Centre for “resorting to such reprehensible and oppressive tactics in its desperation to undermine the peacefully protesting farmers’ fighting spirit”.
But these measures will not succeed in destroying the resolve of the farmers, Capt Amarinder said, adding that the Centre will rather end up provoking them into stronger reaction.
Questioning the intent of the Narendra Modi government, which, he charged, seemed bent on pushing the farmers over the edge through such intimidatory actions, the CM warned that the BJP’s most powerful minds will not be able to control the situation if things get irretrievably out of hand. Instead of resolving the crisis triggered by its “draconian farm legislations” against which farmers have been protesting for months, the Modi government was resorting to “victimisation and harassment” of the protesting farmers and their supporters, Capt Amarinder said, condemning it as a “regressive step” that would lead to further hardening of the farmers’ stance.
It was obvious, he charged, that the BJP-led Centre neither cared for the farmers and their concerns nor understood their psyche. “Punjabis are fighters by nature, they are imbued with the fighting spirit which makes them among the best warriors in the world,” he said, adding that the Centre’s coercive actions will only provoke the farmers from Punjab to react negatively.
Capt Amarinder expressed shock over the Centre’s “unrelenting” opposition to the farmers’ “genuine and justified” demands and its “total failure” to empathise with the cause and concerns of the farmers who have been braving the record cold of Delhi as they continue to hold protests at the national capital’s borders, with many of them succumbing to the harsh weather and prolonged exposure to cold amid the Covid pandemic.
Not only had the Centre been standing on ego in its “adamant” refusal to repeal its “black“ agri laws, it was “actively and shamelessly indulging in strongarm tactics” to “suppress“ the voice of the farmers, the CM said, pointing to the IT notices issued to several big arhtiyas ( grain commission agents) of Punjab about a month ago and the recent NIA notices that were, he added, clearly aimed at pressuring farmers into withdrawing their stir.
These “low-level actions” will not suppress the voice of farmers, or those millions of Indians who are supporting the “annadaatas” in their battle for survival, said Capt Amarinder, adding that if the Modi government had any shame left it should immediately withdraw the farm laws and sit down across the table with all the stakeholders, especially farmers, to usher in an era of genuine agricultural reforms.