A Bharatiya Janata Party MLA has said that the farm laws protests were a conspiracy to spread the avian influenza, or the bird flu, as the farmers were eating chicken biryani. A video of him has now gone viral on social media.

“This is a conspiracy to spread bird blu by eating chicken biryani.” Rajasthan’s Ramganj Mandi MLA Madan Dilawar can be heard saying in the video. “If the government does not remove the protestors either through prayer or by taking stronger means, then the country will face the problem of bird flu.”

Dilawar said that the protesting farmers were not thinking about the country and were on a picnic. “They are merely enjoying biryani,” he said. “They are eating kaju-badam [dry fruits]. They are enjoying in all ways and are coming there changing their appearances frequently.”

The BJP MLA also said that there could be terrorists, thieves and looters among the demonstrators. “They could be the enemies of farmers,” Dilawar said.

Farmers have been protesting on Delhi’s border for several days demanding the repeal of the contentious farm laws. The farmers and the Centre has held talks but no consensus has been reached yet.

Earlier, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and BJP’s IT Cell head Amit Malviya had also claimed, without providing any evidence, that there was the presence of Khalistani militants among the farmers.

Dilawar’s remarks sparked strong criticism. Rajasthan Congress chief Govind Singh Dotasra on Saturday said that it revealed the BJP’s mindset.

“It is shameful for Rajasthan BJP MLA Madan Dilavar ji to use words like terrorists, robbers for farmers,” Dotasra tweeted. “You are calling the protests of food provider who brought food to your stomach a picnic, you are holding them responsible for the bird flu?”

Bird flu

Several states, including Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, have confirmed the outbreak of the avian influenza. The Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairy urged unaffected states to keep a vigil on unusual deaths among birds to contain the spread of the infection.

The Centre had on Wednesday identified 12 epicentres of the outbreak from different districts of Kerala, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh. In a statement, the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying had said that it has issued advisories to these states to contain the spread of the infection.

According to the Centre’s advisory, samples of migratory, dead birds should be collected with utmost caution and under scientific supervision. It added that surveillance should be extended to all wetlands and habitats that host migratory birds and areas with any possibility of interaction of migratory and poultry birds. The affected states have also been asked to send weekly reports to the ministry.