The Bharatiya Janata Party’s Information Technology Cell head Amit Malviya on Monday alleged that the ongoing farmers’ protests against three newly-passed farm laws have “Khalistani and Maoist” links. He, however, did not provide any evidence to support his claim.
In a tweet with images of a gazette notification of implementation of the farm laws in the national Capital, he also accused Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal of seeking an “opportunity to burn down Delhi”. “It was never about farmers. Just politics...” he tweeted.
Responding to the tweet, the Aam Aadmi Party in a statement said that the notification referred to by Malviya allowed farmers to sell their crop anywhere, including outside the mandi (wholesale market), reported NDTV.
“Selling of fruits and vegetables was already de-regulated in Delhi many years back,” the statement said. “Now this holds for grains too. We have not dismantled mandis and they are continuing.” The statement also mentioned that the farners’ demand is that they should get the minimum support price for their crops, and that the Aam Aadmi Party supports that.
Meanwhile, in a video message on the occasion of Guru Nanak Jayanti, Kejriwal urged the people of Delhi to extend all possible help to the agitating farmers.
Malviya is the second prominent BJP leader to suggest the involvement of Khalistani supporters in the farmers’ protest. On Saturday, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar made similar allegations. He claimed to have access to video and audio clips where protestors can be heard raising slogans like, “Jab Indira Gandhi ko ye kar sakte hain, to Modi ko kyu nahi kar sakte? [Why can’t we do this to Modi, if we have done it to Indira Gandhi?]”.
The chief minister said that details of the separatist group’s links will be made public once the government has concrete evidence.
However, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday said that the protests were not “political”, reported PTI. “Whoever wants to oppose it politically let them do it,” he said, while speaking to reporters in Hyderabad. “I have never said the farmers protest is political and would never say [so].”
On Monday, as the agitation entered its fifth day, Shah met Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar for the second time in less than 24 hours after farmers’ organisations rejected the Centre’s conditional invitation for early talks.