Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Monday offered to meet his Haryana counterpart ML Khattar . to feed laddoos – but only if he repeals the three agricultural laws that have sparked waves of angry protests from farmers across the country and sparked a controversial lathi cargo in Karnal on Saturday.
The Punjab chief minister responded to a hostage situation of Mr Khattar – who was criticized for the Haryana police crackdown – over recent protests by sugar cane farmers, which were called off last week after Mr Singh agreed to raise purchase prices.
“Get over the farm laws and not just the farmers, even I will share laddoos with you,” he said.
Singh had previously tweeted “my government is committed to the welfare of our farmers” and shared a photo of him being fed laddoo by a peasant leader to signal an end to the dispute.
Happy to share that, after consultation with farmers, sugar cane juice has been approved for Rs 360 per quintal. My government is committed to the well-being of our farmers. Jai Kisan, Jai Jawan! pic.twitter.com/FSG3kDYA8S
— Captain Amarinder Singh (@capt_amarinder) August 24, 2021
An enraged Amarinder Singh also knocked down Mr Khattar for attempting the Karnal. to defend lathi indictment – which he called a “criminal attack on peacefully protesting farmers” – accusing him of technical protests by thousands of people in both states and neighboring Delhi.
“Can’t you see that the farmers of your own state are angry with you for your apathetic attitude towards them, and your party’s stubborn refusal to repeal the agricultural laws? Revoke the laws instead of blaming Punjab for the mess your party farming has caused.” industry,” said Mr Singh.
Referring to the dispute over sugar cane prices, Singh pointed out that his government had “negotiated and resolved the issue rather than using brute force to try and subdue”.
He was also scathing in his criticism of the way the BJP government in Haryana had handled the peasants’ protests so far, stressing that their response was so brutal that “they (the peasants) are fighting for their survival and not provocation from Punjab. or any other state…”
“The whole country’s sentiment is with farmers on this issue of the draconian and blatantly undemocratic agricultural laws imposed by the BJP-led central government,” he said.
Earlier today, Mr Khattar offered a weak defense to the police’s actions, saying that “in order to maintain law and order, rigor must be ensured”. He also played a controversial video in which Karnal’s subdivision magistrate was heard urging the police to “crack their (farmers) heads”.
The video and police actions sparked outrage among opposition leaders. Singh called it a “government-sponsored attack” and Rahul Gandhi tweeted about farmers’ blood being spilled.
Ten people were injured in the violence on Saturday. One person died as a result of injuries sustained, farmers claimed. However, police said it was due to a heart attack.
Two days after the incident, farmers blocked roads (in Haryana and Punjab) and held mahapanchayat in Haryana’s Nuh, where peasant leader Rakesh Tikait lashed out at the “sarkari Taliban“.
The three agricultural laws have sparked widespread and furious protests from farmers; they say the laws will rob them of guaranteed prices for their crops and leave them to corporate interests. However, the government has insisted that the laws will benefit farmers.
There have been several rounds of talks, but no solution in sight, with the government unwilling to abolish the laws (one of the farmers’ demands) and the farmers standing firm.