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Farmer leaders hold meeting, say violence damaged their cause
New Delhi, Jan 27 - The leaders of the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) have strongly condemned the incidents of violence at Red Fort on Republic Day in the national capital by a mob of farmers, protesting against the three farm laws enacted last year.
The SKM on Wednesday called a meeting in which the incidents of violence by the farmers would be discussed and deliberations would be held to keep the agitation peaceful.
The agitation on Delhi's borders by the farmers entered the 63rd day on Wednesday, demanding a repeal of three new Central farm laws and a legal guarantee for the procurement of all crops at the Minimum Support Price (MSP). The leaders of the SKM, a consortium of farmer organisations leading the agitation, have appealed to the farmers to continue protesting peacefully and condemned the incidents which took place on Tuesday.
Darshan Pal, President of the Krantikari Kisan Union in Punjab and SKM leader, told IANS that the farmers' agitation is peaceful and the union has nothing to do with those taking the farmers to the Red Fort and indulging in violence during the farmers' tractor rally.
Darshan Pal said the SKM meeting would discuss Tuesday's violence and ask the farmers to keep the protest peaceful. He said the question of any further talks with the Central government and a relook at the proposal to stay the implementation of the three farm laws for a year-and-a-half and constituting an experts committee to resolve the farmers' issue, could also be discussed in Wednesday's meeting.
He said, "We will call Deep Sidhu an anti-social element and his organisation, the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Samiti, which are not part of our SKM." The leaders of the SKM have accused Punjabi actor-turned-activist Deep Sidhu of deceiving the farmers by leading them to the Red Fort and indulging in violence there.
The leaders of 32 farmers' organisations of Punjab are going to discuss the whole Red Fort violence before the meeting of the SKM scheduled at 2 p.m. Prior to this meeting, Harinder Singh Lakhowal, General Secretary of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Lakhowal), a constituent of the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha, told IANS that 32 farmers' organisations in Punjab followed those routes agreed upon for the farmers Republic Day parade.
He said that the clashes with the police or the unfurling of a flag at the Red Fort are extremely tragic and he condemned it in strong words. Harinder Singh said that the violent incidents have caused a lot of damage to the farmers' movement and he urged the farmers not to deviate from their cause and keep the protest peaceful.
Joginder Singh, President of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta-Ugrahan), said there was no plan of the SKM to reach the Red Fort as deviating from the prescribed routes and going to the Red Fort was against the agreement with the police. "The Union condemns any kind of violence," he added.
Asked about raising a flag at the Red Fort and creating chaos there, he said it was very wrong. He added that in the SKM meeting, the outline of the movement so far and farmer violence as well as further strategy would be discussed.
When the nation was celebrating the 72nd Republic Day on Tuesday, the farmers taking part in a tractor rally on the borders of Delhi deviated from the agreement with the police, broke the barricades, and people riding on tractors reached the Red Fort and indulged in hooliganism and violence. The miscreants also created a ruckus in Delhi's ITO area where the police had to lathicharge to disperse them.
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