Updated: November 5, 2021 9:55:55 pm
Agitated farmers Friday held senior BJP leaders of Haryana “hostage” for almost seven hours inside a temple of Kiloi village of Rohtak district when they had gone there to watch the live telecast of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Baba Kedarnath Temple in Uttarakhand.
The farmers claimed the leaders were allowed to go only after they expressed an “apology” for visiting the village temple at a time when the leaders of the ruling alliance in Haryana had been “socially boycotted over the issue of the three farm laws”.
However, in an official press note, Haryana BJP Vice-President and former state minister Manish Grover, who was a part of the team that had visited the village said, “As soon as the villagers understood the reality, the matter was resolved immediately. Some people of the Hooda Khap came to me and requested me to wish everyone ‘Ram-Ram’ from the balcony (of the temple) and the matter was resolved thereafter. I had not apologised to anyone, nor was it such a matter. Whenever Bhole Shankar (Lord Shiv) calls me to Kiloi village, I will come to this temple to pay obeisance. The temple is for all and this fact should be understood by all sections of society.”
In a purported video, Grover, who was accompanied by several other BJP leaders, is seen folding his hands while a villager informs the crowd outside the temple “hamne maafi manga li hai (We have convinced the BJP leaders for an apology)”.
The drama started at 10 am when Grover, BJP state organisation secretary Ravinder Raju, Rohtak Mayor Manmohan Goyal, Senior Deputy Mayor Rajkamal Sehgal, BJP district president Ajay Bansal, BJP leader Satish Nandal and BJP SC Morcha National Vice-president Ram Avtar Valmiki went to Prachin Shiv Mandir of Kiloi village.
Rohtak is the stronghold of former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda. He currently represents the Garhi Sampla-Kiloi constituency in the Haryana Assembly. BJP has been blaming the Opposition, particularly Congress and the Left parties, for the current farmer agitation.
On Friday, as soon as the farmers came to know about the visit of the BJP leaders, they started camping outside the temple to stage a protest. The farmers demanded an apology from the BJP leaders for visiting the temple despite their “social boycott” period. Sources hinted that a few BJP leaders were ready “for an apology but farmers wanted an apology with their folded hands”. At 2 pm, senior administrative officers reached the spot and held meetings with the farmers.
Meanwhile, farmers from neighbouring villages too reached the village and the situation turned tense. A source said, “Laying siege around the temple, the farmers also parked their tractor-trolleys on the streets leading to the temple. The farmers wanted an assurance from the BJP leaders that they won’t enter the village till the ongoing farmer agitation is continuing.” Later, in the evening, the farmers ended their protest only after their leaders informed them that the BJP leaders had expressed apology to them.
Later, the Rohtak administration issued a statement saying “a dispute which had arisen due to a misunderstanding has been resolved peacefully”.
The administration further said, “The villagers had gathered outside the ancient Shiv Temple of the village over some issue. Moreover, it was not an issue in which an apology was required, rather it was a misunderstanding.”
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