R-Day violence in Delhi insult to nation; my head hangs in shame: Amarinder

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Chandigarh, Jan 27 (PTI) Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Wednesday described the Republic Day violence especially at the Red Fort in Delhi as an 'insult to the nation'.

Wielding sticks and clubs and holding the tricolour and union flags, tens of thousands of farmers atop tractors broke barriers, had clashed with the police and had entered the city from various points to lay siege to the Red Fort. He said the incident has brought shame to the country and weakened the farmers' agitation, but made it clear that he continued to stand with them as the Centre's agri laws were “wrong” and against India's federal ethos.

He said the Red Fort is a symbol of independent India and thousands of people had laid down their lives for the country's freedom and to see the national flag flying atop the historic fort.

Mahatma Gandhi used non-violent means in his struggle for India's independence, he said.

“My head hangs in shame at what happened yesterday (Tuesday) in the national capital,” Singh said in a statement here.

“Whoever has done it (indulged in violence at Red Fort) has brought shame to the country and Delhi Police should investigate and take action,” he added.

The Centre should also probe into the involvement, if any, of any political party or foreign nation, while making sure that no farm leaders are unnecessarily targeted or harassed by the police, he sought.

The chief minister declared that the future of Punjab's youth lay in peace and recent developments had slowed down investment in the state.

He demanded action against the perpetrators, who he said were not farmers but misguided youth indulging in symbolism.

Such problems will continue to take place if the government fails to listen to the voice of the people. A government for the people and by the people cannot ignore the will of the people, he said. The performance of the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre will not be acceptable in the next elections to the majority in a country where 70 per cent of the population is farmers, said Singh.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) should realise that stability and secularism, encompassing all minorities, is the key to inclusive growth of the nation and playing the 'Hindutva' card will not lead to progress, he said.

“The farm laws are wrong, which is why we passed our own laws,” Singh said, pointing out that agriculture is a state subject, yet “we were not asked before introducing the ordinances'.

Categorically rejecting allegations of his government being in the know on the issue, he said the Aam Aadmi Party was spreading “false propaganda”. Lamenting that the Governor had not yet forwarded the state amendment bills to the President for assent, he said the laws were passed in the state assembly under Article 254 (II) of the Constitution, as the BJP had done in the case of the Land Acquisition Act.

“If it could be done for the BJP, why can't they do it for us,” he asked, questioning the “biased” attitude towards the Congress government in Punjab.

“Why have state governments at all, if their powers are to be systematically reduced,” asked Singh, pointing out that the Anandpur Sahib resolution, passed 50 years ago, had demanded strengthening of the federal structure but it is instead being weakened further. PTI CHS VSD RHL