Chandigarh, Jan 28 (PTI) Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday slammed Union minister Prakash Javadekar over his “disgraceful and desperate” attempt to shift blame for the violence that broke out during the farmers’ tractor parade in the national capital on Republic Day.
Singh alleged that the agitating farmers were instigated by supporters and members of the BJP in collusion with the AAP which led to the parade descending into chaos as a section of protesters broke prior agreement with the Delhi Police and indulged in violence and hooliganism.
Javadekar had on Wednesday blamed the Congress for the violence and alleged that India will not tolerate its flag's insult at Red Fort. He also claimed that the Congress has always worked to incite farmers during the ongoing agitation.
“Workers and supporters of the BJP and AAP, and not the Congress, have been caught on camera waving the 'Nishan Sahib' at the Red Fort,” said Singh while replying to Javadekar's allegations.
Amrik Micky, an Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) member, was also spotted at the violence site, alleged Singh.
Singh's comments came even as Delhi Police named actor Deep Sidhu in an FIR in connection with Red Fort incident.
The chief minister said not a single Congress leader or member was seen at the Red Fort indulging in any kind of lawlessness.
He said farmers too were not responsible for the violence, which was caused by “anti-social” elements who had infiltrated the tractor parade.
The Centre should also get a free and fair probe conducted into the possible role of any political party, or even a third country as is being alleged by BJP's own leaders, to ensure that the guilty are punished and the genuine farmers are not unnecessarily harassed, he added.
The chief minister also lashed out at Javadekar for accusing Congress leaer Rahul Gandhi of inciting violence.
“Did the Congress leader (Gandhi) ask anyone to climb the Red Fort? He did not. It was the BJP and AAP men who did that,” Singh said, adding that Gandhi had promptly condemned the violence and made it clear that it will not solve the crisis.
“These allegations are nothing but an attempt to cover-up the BJP's role in the violence and the central government’s utter failure to manage the situation, which they had created in the first place with the unilateral implementation of the black farm laws,” he said.
The Union minister had said that the opposition party could not escape its responsibility as it was in power in Punjab while adding that the state government should have arrested criminal elements as a preventive measure as people drove their tractors from there to the protest venue in Delhi.
Permission for the tractor march was officially given by the Delhi Police and there was no reason for the Punjab government to prevent farmers from joining the rally, said the chief minister.
“How could I stop peaceful farmers from going to their own national capital to exercise their democratic right of protest,” the chief minister said.
If there was a ban on the movement of farmers to the Delhi borders, the central government, of which Javadekar is a part, should have directed their BJP chief minister in Haryana to stop them on the way, he said.
Pinning the blame for the violence on the Punjab government or on the Congress is clearly a “diversionary tactic” on the part of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leadership, he stated.
Singh pointed out that all those months when the farmers were blocking railway tracks in Punjab, he had been reaching out repeatedly to the central leadership, including the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a host of ministers, to intervene and resolve the crisis.
“But nobody heeded us, nobody listened to me or to the agitating farmers, fighting for their survival,” he said.
This “insensitivity” of the BJP and the central government to the pain and anguish of the farmers is causing a “heavy loss” for the nation, said the chief minister. PTI CHS VSD RHL