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Regret not talking to SKM on visit to BJP worker’s home: Yogendra Yadav

Yadav said the decision by SKM was taken in his presence and he got the chance to state his viewpoint, but he didn’t have any idea beforehand that his suspension was on the cards.

Written by Aranya Shankar | New Delhi |
Updated: October 23, 2021 12:11:58 pm
Yogendra Yadav with the family of Subham Mishra, a BJP worker who was killed in the October 3 Lakhimpur Kheri violence. (Photo: Twitter/@_YogendraYadav)

Swaraj India leader Yogendra Yadav, who was Thursday suspended for a month from the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), Friday said he regretted his “procedural flaw” in not speaking to SKM leaders before meeting the family of the deceased BJP worker in Lakhimpur Kheri, and said it was “naïve” of him to think the gesture would be understood “in the sense in which it was meant”.

“There is a question of principle, there’s a question of policy and there is a question of procedure. What I did was procedurally flawed. Actually, I went in my personal capacity, with colleagues of the Jai Kisan Andolan, and didn’t even name SKM, but when you’re in the midst of a struggle like this, whatever you do reflects on everyone else. In that sense, I should have recognised it and spoken to them,” Yadav told The Indian Express.

Asked what he would have done if the SKM didn’t agree at the point, he said, “I would have argued with them, persuaded them, maybe fought with them or postponed my plan by a day or two. I don’t know. But not talking to them, and them discovering all this through media, was something which was not correct.”

Yadav said in terms of academic philosophy there was the question of substantive ethics and procedural ethics: “In substantive terms, I’ve made my position clear but procedurally there was a flaw and I admit that.”

Yadav said he hoped his suspension could start a dialogue about “issues of humanitarian gestures, of recognising the humanity of your adversary and questions of moral complexity”. “The space for anything decent has shrunk so much in our public life irrespective of ideologies and parties… It was naïve of me to expect that a gesture like this would be understood in the sense in which it was meant,” he said.

“These are things which have kind of almost disappeared from our public life. I say disappeared as this was very much part of our freedom struggle. Gandhi would worry about workers of Lancashire whose jobs were being taken away because of the Swadeshi movement. Gandhi did not say they are foreigners… We need to bring back some of these questions. A big and historic movement like this Kisan movement should take the responsibility of re-rescuing some of these questions that have disappeared from our public life,” said Yadav.

He said the decision by SKM was taken in his presence and he got the chance to state his viewpoint, but he didn’t have any idea beforehand that his suspension was on the cards.

In a statement Friday, Yadav said he visited BJP worker Shubham Mishra’s home “not to glorify him” but to pay his condolences. “To me, sharing grief of everyone, including our adversaries, is a principle that draws upon humanitarianism as well as Indian culture. As a policy, I have believed that expressing such sentiments do not weaken but actually strengthen any mass movement. Naturally, not everyone in the movement shares this understanding,” he said.

“In any public movement like this one, collective wisdom must prevail above individual understanding. I regret not consulting my colleagues in SKM before taking this decision. I also regret that this has hurt many of my colleagues involved in the farmers’ movement. I respect the collective decision-making process of the SKM and gladly submit myself to the punishment awarded to me,” he said.

Asked by The Indian Express if he will continue to participate at protest sites as he’s not allowed to speak on stage, Yadav said, “Of course. I enjoy those meetings most where I don’t have to speak, and I hope to contribute more than I did earlier.”

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