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Sunday, June 13, 2021

Farmers frame new guidelines: No protests against BJP, JJP leaders going to visit personal events

Relief for Haryana government as agitators say they want to focus on Delhi

Written by Sukhbir Siwach | Chandigarh |
June 8, 2021 10:30:27 pm
BKU leader Rakesh Tikait, with supporters and farmers, protests with black flags against farm laws, at Ghazipur border in New Delhi. (File photo/PTI)

Farmer leaders, protesting the Centre’s three contentious agriculture laws, have started framing guidelines ‘aiming for modesty’ and have made it clear that “the social boycott and agitations against the leaders of BJP and its allies will be in the context of their official programs, including government and political, and not for their personal or private events, like weddings and participation in funeral processions”.

The announcement, which was made soon after resolving a weeklong standoff between the authorities and agitator farmers in Tohana on Monday, may prove a relief for the BJP-JJP government in Haryana, with farmer leaders clearing their intentions that their focus was still firmly on Delhi.

“All resistance will be completely peaceful, through the use of black flags or slogans, and will not involve any violence or use of force,” the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) declared in a statement. A major deadlock had emerged after a violent confrontation between the agitators and JJP MLA Devender Babli in Tohana on June 1.

Yogendra Yadav, one of the nine members of the SKM, on Tuesday, said, “Our real fight is in Delhi, against the Central government. We don’t need to get entangled with small governments time and again. Our opposition against the MLAs, MPs, and other representatives of the BJP and its allies will continue in Haryana and other states. But this opposition will be only for government and political functions, not for private events.”

The decision has come as a relief for the government authorities in Haryana, who had been forced to remain extra vigilant at all times, as the stiff opposition from farmer alliance leaders had made it difficult for them to move out of their homes, even for the private events, in the past six months. A few days after the “Delhi Chalo” call of farmers in November 2020, the Haryana farmers had announced a “social boycott” of BJP-JJP leaders over the issue of three contentious farm laws. During all these months, they staged protests whenever they found any leader of the BJP-JJP in areas that had the presence of protesters, as there were no guidelines to guide the agitators.

This had made it difficult for the police to maintain law and order at all times. During one such faceoff, the opposition to Devender Babli in his constituency had led to a major standoff between the authorities and protesters. As many as three FIRs were lodged and three farmers were arrested, which led farmers to swarm outside Tohana police station for two days to demand the release of their fellow agitators.

To resolve the deadlock, several rounds of talks had taken place in Tohana. From the farmers’ side, five out of nine SKM members, including Yogendra Yadav, Rakesh Tikait, Gurnam Singh Chaduni, and Joginder Singh Ugrahan, participated in the talks. the government was represented by Fatehabad DC Narhari Singh Bangar and SP Rajesh Kumar, who put forward the administration’s point of view.

Welcoming the new guidelines issued by the SKM, DC Narhari Singh Bangar said, “The farmer organisations have assured the administration that they won’t oppose any private functions of public representatives. Even for (public representatives’) government functions, the farmer bodies have given their consent for peaceful protests, which is admirable.” Another senior officer of the administration said, “During the talks, we also succeeded to convince the farmer leaders that the questioning of public representatives by the agitators over issues may lead to confrontation or violence.”

In fact, the latest guidelines issued by the farmer leaders, aims at keeping their focus on their dharnas at Delhi borders, as they want to make it focal point of the agitation Recently, Rakesh Tikait had accused the BJP government in the Centre of trying to shift the ongoing farmer agitation from the Delhi borders to Haryana.

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