The Centre on Wednesday told the Rajya Sabha that the National Investigation Agency did not summon farmers protesting against the new agriculture laws, PTI reported.
“No sir,” Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy said in a written response to a query on whether the central agency, which investigates terror crimes, had called farmers for questioning. The question was asked by Congress leader Digvijaya Singh and two other members.
On January 16, Baldev Singh Sirsa, a farmers’ union head, had said he was summoned by the NIA for questioning, in connection with a case registered against a leader of the banned outfit Sikhs for Justice. Sirsa is the president of Lok Bhalai Insaf Welfare Society, one of the unions protesting against the Centre’s farm laws.
The case pertains to the banned outfit’s chief Gurpatwant Singh Pannu, who has been charged for an alleged conspiracy to create an “atmosphere of fear and lawlessness and to cause disaffection in people and to incite them towards rising in rebellion against the Government of India”.
Sirsa, at the time, had alleged that the government was trying to disrupt the farmers’ protest. “First, the government tried to derail the farmer agitation through the Supreme Court, now it is using the NIA,” he said.
Besides him, several others, including activists, have been summoned for questioning. The alleged summons were issued for answering questions related to Pannu.
The NIA’s first information report in the case accuses “Sikhs For Justice, an ‘Unlawful Association’ under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, and other Khalistani terrorist outfits” of entering into a conspiracy.
The FIR said that “huge funds are being collected abroad for on-ground campaigns and propaganda against the Government of India including staging demonstrations outside Indian missions in countries like the USA [United States of America], UK [United Kingdom], Canada, Germany and so forth”.
It said that the Sikhs for Justice leadership has planned large-scale disruptive activities intended to damage government and private property and also disrupt supplies and services essential to the life of the community of India.