Citing the threat of cross-border terrorism, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to resume talks with farmer leaders about the three new agriculture laws, PTI reported.
In a letter to Modi, Singh proposed to lead an all-party delegation from Punjab to meet him and find a “durable and amicable solution” to the farmers’ protest. “We owe it to the state’s proud, hardworking farmers,” he tweeted.
Tens of thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, have camped outside Delhi since November, demanding that the central government repeal the three laws that open up the country’s agriculture markets to private companies.
Talks between farmers groups and the central government to resolve the protest came to a complete deadlock after farmers rejected the Centre’s offer to suspend the laws for two years. The last time both sides met was on January 22. Since then, most farmer leaders have said they were willing to speak to the government again. The Centre, however, has said it will discuss only matters other than the repeal of the three laws.
In his letter, Singh flagged the threat of terrorist activities by groups backed by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI. He also warned about alleged plans by “separatist Khalistani outfits” to target farmer leaders amid rising resentment on the legislations.
“The situation is presently under control but I fear that provocative statements, conduct of some political parties and the emotional backlash might create law and order problems and also lead to irreversible damage to the hard-earned peace in the state,” Singh wrote, according to PTI.
Pointing out that Assembly elections in the state are due next year, Singh claimed that “ISI-led Khalistani and Kashmiri terror outfits” were planning terrorist activities in Punjab in the near future.
The Punjab chief minister also noted an increase in drone activity in villages falling within 5-6 kilometres of India-Pakistan border, with “consignments of weapons and [drug] heroin being delivered”.
He added that the unrest due to the farm law protest threatens the state’s socio-economic fabric.
Meanwhile, Shiromani Akali Dal, the main rival of Congress in Punjab, is roping in support from Opposition parties to demand repeal of the laws during the upcoming Monsoon Session of the Parliament, The Indian Express reported.
The Akali Dal claimed that the Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Trinamool Congress and Bahujan Samaj Party were on board to oppose the legislations.