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Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Wrestler-turned-politician Babita Phogat faces protests by farmer in Charkhi Dadri village

The agitating farmers, who have announced a “boycott” of BJP-JJP leaders as part of their protests against three farm laws, gathered near village Birhi Kalan with black flags in their hands to greet Babita.

By: Express News Service | Chandigarh |
Updated: May 31, 2021 2:33:26 am
Farmers try to stop BJP leader Babita Phogat’s car Sunday. (Express Photo)

Wrestler turned politician Babita Phogat faced the ire of agitating farmers in a village of Charkhi Dadri on Sunday, when she had gone to address public meetings in a few villages of the district.

Babita, who joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 2019, but lost her first election, has been appointed as the chairperson of Haryana Women Development Corporation by the Manohar Lal Khattar government in 2020. She had gone to the villages as part of the party’s “Seva Hi Sangathan” program to mark the seventh anniversary of the Narendra Modi government in the Centre.

The agitating farmers, who have announced a “boycott” of BJP-JJP leaders as part of their protests against three farm laws, gathered near village Birhi Kalan with black flags in their hands to greet Babita.

“First, the farmers gathered near the bus stand of Birhi Kalan. They then rushed to the neighbouring village of Tiwala when they came to know about Babita’s movement there. By the time the villagers reached the spot, Babita had left for Birhi Kalan via a local route. The farmers again rushed to Birhi Kalan village. When the police tried to clear the route of her vehicle, the farmers lay down on the road and kept raising slogans, while waving black flags at her,” said Raju Mann, a farmer activist.

Some videos of the incident, which later did the rounds of social media, show a confrontation between the agitators and the policemen when they were trying to clear the road for the BJP leader. Agitators are seen raising slogans; “Babita Phogat murdabad- Haryana sarkar moordabad”. Some women protesters are also spotted among the agitators trying to stop the cavalcade of Babita Phogat.

The agitators claimed that the BJP leader was later forced to postpone her programme in Birhi Kalan in the face of vociferous protests by the farmers. However, a family member and associate of Babita, Rahul Phogat, claimed that there were no scheduled programmes in Birhi Kalal. “She did not face any opposition in three villages where she addressed public meetings. Those who staged protests against Babita were from rival political organisations,” said Rahul.

In 2019, Babita had resigned from the post of Sub-Inspector of Haryana police to join the saffron party. BJP fielded her for the Assembly polls from Charkhi-Dadri seat but she lost the poll battle.

State highway blocked to protest farmer’s arrest in Jind

Meanwhile, a group of agitating farmers blocked a state highway in Jind district Sunday to protest against the arrest of a farmer in connection with his “objectionable comments” against a senior politician of the ruling BJP-JJP alliance in Haryana.

BKU Jind district president Azad Palwa alleged that the arrested farmer, Dalbir Singh, a resident of Bibipur village, was arrested in a police raid on Saturday and was immediately produced before a court, from where he was sent to Hisar jail in judicial custody. “The farmer arrested is not a terrorist. The police showed undue haste in his arrest by conducting a raid. To express their resentment, farmers blocked Jind-Hisar state highway for three hours on Sunday,” said Palwa.

The farmer leader claimed that they opened the road only after an assurance from the administration that the bail plea moved by the farmer will not be opposed by the police in court. “When the farmers have launched a peaceful agitation, why atrocities are being committed on them,” Palwa asked.

Sources say Dalbir was booked for making objectionable comments against a politician in a video clip. He had once before in 2017 been booked under sedition charges for making objectionable comments against another senior politician.

Talking about the latest case, Jind DSP Pushpa Khatri told the media that the police have lodged an FIR against the accused under sections 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace), 505 (A) (statement conducing to public mischief), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 294 (obscene act) of the IPC.

“The agitators were told that he was arrested under legal process,” said the DSP, adding that the farmers were advised to follow the proper legal process and apply for his bail.

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