Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday once again sought to highlight his government’s achievements in agriculture-related policies, claiming that the sector grew even during the coronavirus pandemic because of the steps taken to make farmers’ self-reliant, reported ANI. His comments came even as thousands of farmers have protesting against the farm laws for over 70 days.

The prime minister was speaking via video conferencing at an event to mark the centenary celebrations of the Chauri Chaura incident. A group of freedom fighters participating in the non-cooperation movement launched by Mahatma Gandhi in 1922 were fired upon by police, leading to death of many of them. In retaliation, protestors attacked and set fire to the Chauri Chaura police station in Uttar Pradesh, killing many of its occupants. Gandhi had called off the movement due to the violence.

Modi also released a postage stamp to mark the beginning of the centenary celebrations.

“The incident of Chauri Chaura was not limited to a police station being set on fire,” the prime minister said. “The message of the incident was huge. Due to various reasons, it was treated as a minor incident, but we should see it in context. The fire was not just in the station but in the hearts of people.”

Modi also said that it was unfortunate that those killed in the incident have not been discussed enough in the history of the freedom struggle. “Although, they have not been given significance in the pages of history, their blood is in the soil of the country and keeps inspiring us,” he said.

The prime minister called upon the citizens to take a pledge to give priority to the unity of the country and its respect above everything else. “With this feeling, we have to move forward along with each and every citizen of India,” he said.