Farmers’ protest: BJP ally JJP demands withdrawal of cases against agitating farmers registered in Haryana

Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) coalition partner Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) on Thursday demanded the withdrawal of cases registered in Haryana against farmers who participated in the “Delhi Chalo” march against Centre’s farm laws.

JJP leader Digvijay Singh Chautala said the cases against farmers must be withdrawn to ensure that the situation does not worsen and no mistrust is crated between farmers and the government.

“We will talk to the chief minister and home minister and tell them to withdraw cases against farmers so that situation does not worsen and any kind of mistrust is not created,” news agency PTI quoted Chautala as saying.

“This is our party’s stand on the issue. To protest peacefully is the fundamental right of the farmers,” he added.

The JJP has also been facing Opposition’s criticism for not walking out of the alliance on farmers’ issue and “clinging to power”.

Haryana Police had booked state Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) chief Gurnam Singh Charuni and several farmers on the attempt to murder and rioting charges in Ambala.

Hundreds of farmers were booked on charges of rioting, participating in unlawful assembly, obstructing public servants from discharging their duty, damaging public property and violating various provisions of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, in Ambala, Panipat, Rohtak, Kaithal, Sirsa and other districts of the state a week ago.

The Congress had claimed that over 20,000 farmers in Haryana have been booked by police for various violations during the ‘Delhi Chalo’ protest march.

Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala had condemned the BJP-JJP government for placing boulders, multiple steel barricades, getting patches of roads dug, using water cannons and tear gas shells on the farmers.

Replying to a question, Digvijay Chautala exuded confidence that “dialogue process which has started between the government and farmers is moving ahead in the right direction and we are hopeful that it will bear positive results”.

He said as far as crop MSP is concerned, Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala has already made his stance clear by saying that the day he feels there is a threat to it, he will quit his post.

The JJP had on Tuesday suggested that the Centre should give a written assurance to farmers that the minimum support price system would continue.

Chautala, however, avoided a question on suggestions by the Congress and other opposition parties that the JJP should walk out of the alliance with BJP.

“The issue on which we are briefing you today is farmers’ agitation,” he said, evading the reply.

He, however, said farmers’ unions are keeping their demands and other issues before the Centre “point to point” and JJP’s top leadership led by its national president Ajay Singh Chautala were following all the developments very closely.

He also said the JJP is hopeful that the issues of the protesting farmers will be solved soon and they will soon return to their homes.

Answering another question, Digvijay Chautala said SAD stalwart and former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal is a great farmer leader and he respects the feelings that prompted him to return his Padma Vibhushan award.

The Akali veteran on Thursday returned the award in protest against the Centre’s new farm laws.

“He is the biggest farmer leader, who struggled with Chaudhary Devi Lal for farmers’ cause. Somewhere, he (Badal) is also feeling sad about the situation which has come up (on farmers’ issue and subsequent protests near Delhi’s borders),” he said.

(With PTI inputs)

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