At least four people were injured when a clash broke out between the supporters of Union minister Sanjeev Balyan and farmers in Soram village of Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh on Monday, reported The Hindu. Balyan has, however, claimed that it was the supporters of the Rashtriya Lok Dal who clashed with the farmers.
The clash took place when Balyan was in Soram to attend the funeral prayers of a senior member of the village. Some villagers raised slogans against Balyan and the farm laws after which one of the minister’s aides reportedly attacked the villagers, resulting in chaos. The police intervened to bring the situation under control.
Following the incident, villagers held a panchayat meeting and hundreds of them organised a sit-in protest at the Shahpur police station, demanding the registration of a first information report against Balyan and his aides.
Yogesh Kumar, one of the four injured persons, lodged a complaint, saying that they were attacked by around 25 aides of Balyan and were severely abused. Kumar said he and his friends are members of the Bharatiya Kisan Union and were raising slogans in its support. “I was pulled into a car by policemen and the aides of the minister,” Kumar said. “A gun was pointed at me and I was roughed up. After an hour, I was left in a field.”
The police have not yet registered the first information report. Budhana circle officer Girija Shanker Tripathi said they were talking to the farmers.
After the incident, RLD Vice President Jayant Chaudhary called the incident a clash between BJP leaders and farmers. “If you cannot talk in favour of farmers, at least maintain a good behaviour towards them,” he tweeted. “Respect the farmers! Will the farmers tolerate the hooliganism of government’s representatives who are telling pros of the new [farm] laws?”
Responding to the charges, Balyan said that he was in the village on a personal visit and the clashes were a pre-planned conspiracy by RLD leaders, reported The Indian Express. “As I was sitting, some RLD workers came and tried to disturb the atmosphere by clashing with locals,” Balyan claimed. “They were eventually driven away. Even Jayant Chaudhary’s tweet had a timing. It’s just an effort to make sure the atmosphere is tense.”
Bharatiya Kisan Union’s national spokesperson Rakesh Tikait said the farmers should maintain their brotherhood. “When a public representative comes to the village, people should not cross the limits of decency while asking questions,” he said. Tikait also asked the public representatives to respect the sentiments of the people.
Soram is said to be an important centre of the Balyan khap, to which Balyan as well as Bharatiya Kisan Union leaders Rakesh Tikait and Naresh Tikait belong.