March 28, 2021 12:42:27 pm
The attack on Abohar legislator Arun Narang in Malout Saturday drew strong reactions from across the board with Punjab CM warning of strict action against those taking law in their hands. While the BJP termed it a murderous attack on their MLA and blamed the Amarinder government for law and order failure, the ruling Congress in Punjab as well as the Shiromani Akali (SAD) condemned the incident strongly.
Amarinder vows strict action
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said his government will take strict action against anyone trying to disturb the state’s peace by taking the law into their hands.
Amarinder directed DGP Dinkar Gupta to take strict action, under the law, against the perpetrators, who also clashed with the police personnel who tried to rescue the MLA.
Even as he urged the farmers not to indulge in such acts of violence, the Chief Minister appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to urgently resolve the crisis triggered by the escalating row over farm laws.
A statement by the CM said that Gurmail Singh (PPS), SP Headquarters, Faridkot, was injured while trying to save and evacuate the MLA from the protesting crowd. He also suffered a lathi blow on his head, causing his turban to fall off, and was admitted in Civil Hospital, Malout, where the incident took place, CM’s statement added.
According to the statement, with the simmering tensions between the Centre and the farmers intensifying, a number of incidents of protests against BJP leaders were reported from different parts of Punjab on Saturday.
The Chief Minister said that barring the assault on the BJP MLA from Abohar, other BJP leaders were safely evacuated from the protest sites. He said that while protesting is the democratic right of the farmers, violence of any sorts would not be tolerated, and the law and order situation in the state would not be allowed.
Seeking the Prime Minister’s immediate intervention to resolve the tensions, Amarinder said any further delay on the part of the central government would trigger further unrest among the agitating farmers. Coupled with the increased threat from across the border from Pakistan-backed terrorist outfits, who were already trying to exploit the situation, this could pose a serious security threat to Punjab, and resultantly the entire nation, he warned.
The farmers, he pointed out, had been out on the roads for 4 months now, and with no sign of the central government being willing to step back, the anger among the farmers was growing.
Reacting to the demand of Punjab BJP leaders for his resignation over the issue, the Chief Minister said instead of trying to take political mileage from Malout’s incident, they should pressurise their central leadership to withdraw the controversial legislations.
Regret incident, but BJP responsible: SKM
The Sanyukta Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of farmer unions spearheading the agitation against the central agri laws, also condemned the incident, but held the BJP’s central leadership responsible for it.
SKM coordinator Dr Darshan Pal said: “Leaders of the BJP and its allies have been inciting farmers with their rhetoric statements against farmers. Even martyred farmers were insulted by a few leaders. Due to all this and in the context of opposition to agricultural laws, farmers have been socially boycotting the leaders of BJP and its allies.”
A statement released by Dr Darshan Pal on behalf of the SKM said: “On Saturday, farmers protested against BJP MLA from Abohar in Punjab. This agitation of farmers, under adverse circumstances, turned violent and the MLA was physically assaulted. It is a matter of regret that an elected representative was treated this way. We do not encourage such behaviour. We strongly condemn this act. We consider the BJP and its allies are responsible for this incident. The central leadership of the BJP is rooted in its ego and instead of solving the problems of the farmers, they are busy in the elections, but local leaders are facing the bitter results of this behaviour of the central government.”
It added: “SKM appeals to all the protesters to remain peaceful and disciplined. The farmers movement is now spreading from the borders of Delhi to every corner of the country. This historical movement of farmers will surely succeed on this path of non-violence.”
Sad day in Punjab’s history: BJP
Dubbing the manhandling of MLA Arun Narang as “sad day” in the state’s history, state BJP president Ashwani Sharma said that the Punjab government has totally failed to protect law and order.
“I am aghast at the deteriorating security situation in the state…Never has such a disgraceful incident happened in the political history of the country,” he said, adding that political parties in a democratic set up have every right to protest and condemn but there is a “code of decency”. “The police could not protect its elected MLA what would a common man be subjected to if the mob takes over?” he said. Asking for CM Amarinder Singh’s resignation, he said: “No Punjabi farmer can stoop down to this level of indecency. It’s the goonda element which is being used by the Congress party to intimidate and harass the innocent.”
BJP national general secretary Tarun Chugh too slammed the Amarinder Singh-led government over the incident and claimed that it has “exposed the complete collapse of law and order in the state”. Describing the incident as a “murderous attack” on Narang, he accused the ruling Congress of engineering it.
Amarinder Singh was “instigating such attacks in order to stifle the voice of the BJP”, Chugh alleged and demanded that the chief minister resign.
In Delhi, BJP general secretary Arun Singh condemned the mistreatment meted out to the legislator as extremely barbaric and painful.
“The BJP condemns this incident that happened under the Congress government’s protection. The Amarinder Singh government of the Congress is directly responsible for it,” the party said in the statement.
Attack unfortunate, says Sunil Jakhar
PPCC chief Sunil Jakhar also strongly condemned the attack on BJP saying such unlawful behaviour has no place in a democracy. He said that farmer protests will be weakened with incidents like these.
Jakhar, while terming the attack as highly unfortunate, said that everyone should be allowed to present his views and every citizen should respect each other’s right to speak. He also said that farmer protests are moving in right direction to achieve their goal but events like these will hamper its progress. He appealed to all farmers to abstain from unlawful actions like these as no one can be allowed to take law and order in their own hands.
Ensure peaceful protests: SAD chief
Reacting to the assault on the BJP legislator at Malout, SAD president Sukhbir Badal appealed to everyone to exercise restraint to ensure the peace and communal harmony of the state was not disturbed. He asked both Centre and Punjab government to take steps to ease the tense situation which had developed in the state due to the Centre’s refusal to listen to the sentiments of farmers.
He said: “Care should be taken to ensure peaceful protests. The manner in which the protest at Malout spiralled completely out of control is not acceptable.”
(With PTI Input)
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