Kailash Choudhary slams Sikh for Justice for announcing money to hoist Khalistani flag on Jan 26

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New Delhi, Jan 13 (PTI) Minister of State for Agriculture Kailash Choudhary on Wednesday hit out at banned outfit Sikh for Justice for announcing a prize money for hoisting Khalistani flag on January 26, saying it amounts to treason.

The minister also urged protesting farmers' unions at Delhi borders to cancel their planned tractor rally on Republic Day as such incidents hurt the country's pride.

Replying to a query on Sikh for Justice announcing prize money for hosting the Khalistani flag on January 26, the minister told reporters, 'Those people who are saying this are not talking in the interest of the nation. 'Rashtradroh ki baat hai' (It is like treason). The entire country is watching those who are talking like this.' 'Those who love Mother India will not let the country down. Be it January 26 or Independence day, these are national festivals. If such incidents happen, there will be a question mark on the country's pride,' he said.

'I want to request farmer leaders that these kind of tractor rallies should be cancelled so that the country's pride remain intact,' he added.

Asked if farmers are being provoked for tractor rally and for hoisting Khalistani flag, Choudhary said farmers' leaders should understand that there will be a solution if initial demands were discussed.

'Otherwise, pro-Khalistani people can come or those who want to make political gains shooting from farmers' shoulders can also come. Indian farmers are in support of laws and farmers' leaders should understand this,' he said.

Stating that a large number of farmer groups are supporting the laws, the minister asked the protesting unions to come before the Supreme Court appointed panel for discussion.

Now, the Supreme Court will take a final decision, he added.

On ways to engage protesting farmers in the apex court panel's proceedings, the minister said, 'Since day one, we have been urging farmers' leaders that a solution can be found if unions come with initial demands and keeping farmers' interest in mind. Their initial demand was amendments to the laws. Later, they began to demand repeal of the laws. This makes it clear that there is politics somewhere.' Thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana and Western Uttar Pradesh, have been protesting at several border points of Delhi since November 28 last year, demanding a repeal of the three laws and a legal guarantee to the minimum support price (MSP) procurement system for their crops.

Enacted in September last year, the three laws have been projected by the Centre as major reforms in the agriculture sector that will remove middlemen and allow farmers to sell their produce anywhere in the country.

However, the protesting farmers have expressed their apprehension that the new laws would pave the way for eliminating the safety cushion of the MSP and do away with the mandi (wholesale market) system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporates. PTI LUX MJH BJ AAR AAR