Chandigarh, Jan 28 : Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday hit out at Union minister Prakash Javadekar over his "disgraceful and desperate" attempt to shift blame for the Red Fort violence, which Amarinder claimed had been instigated by supporters and members of the BJP in collusion with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), with the Congress nowhere in the picture.
"Workers and supporters of BJP and AAP, and not the Congress, have been caught on camera waving the Nishan Sahib at the Red Fort," pointed out the Chief Minister in a strong retaliation to Javadekar's unfounded allegations against the Congress, and his own government in Punjab.
Amarinder's comments came even as Delhi Police named Deep Sidhu, a key aide of BJP MP Sunny Deol, as one of the main instigators of the violence, and Amrik Micky, an AAP member, was also spotted at the site.
Not a single Congress leader or member was seen at the Red Fort indulging in any kind of lawlessness, Amarinder said, adding that even farmers were not responsible for the January 26 trouble, which was in fact the doing of anti-social elements who had infiltrated the tractor rally.
The Centre should also get a free and fair probe conducted into the possible role of any political party, or even a third country as is being alleged by BJP's own leaders, to ensure that the guilty are punished and the genuine farmers are not unnecessarily maligned or harassed, Amarinder said.
The Chief Minister also lashed out at Javadekar for accusing Rahul Gandhi of inciting the violence, asking "Did the Congress leader ask anyone to climb Red Fort? He did not. It was BJP and AAP men who did that," he said, adding that Rahul had, in fact, promptly condemned the violence, and made it clear that violence was no solution to the crisis.
"These allegations are nothing but a cover-up attempt by the BJP leader for his own party's role in the violence, and in fact for their utter failure to manage the situation, which they had created in the first place with the unilateral implementation of the black farm laws," said Amarinder, trashing Javadekar's charges.
"How could I stop peaceful farmers from going to their own national capital to exercise their democratic right of protest," the Chief Minister further said, reacting to the Union minister's statement that the Punjab government failed to stop farmers from joining the tractor rally.
Permission for the tractor march was officially given by the Delhi Police and there was no reason for the Punjab government to prevent farmers from joining the rally, said the Chief Minister, adding that if there was a ban on the movement of farmers to the Delhi borders, the BJP-led central government, of which Javadekar is a part, should have directed their own Chief Minister in Haryana to stop them on the way.
For over two months, farmers had been peacefully agitating in Punjab without causing any trouble, before camping at the Delhi borders, where also they had been completely peaceful for two months before the events of January 26, the Chief Minister pointed out, adding that pinning the blame for the violence on the Punjab government or on the Congress is clearly a diversionary tactic on the part of the BJP leadership.
Amarinder further pointed out that all these months when the farmers were blocking railway tracks in Punjab, he had been reaching out repeatedly to the central leadership, including the Prime Minister and a host of ministers, to intervene and resolve the crisis.
"But nobody heeded us, nobody listened to me or to the agitating farmers, fighting for their survival," he added.
This insensitivity of the BJP and the central government to the pain and anguish of the farmers, many of whom have lost their lives in their struggle for justice, and it is causing a heavy loss for the nation, said the Chief Minister, urging the Centre to give up its ego and accept the farmers' justified demand for repeal of the farm laws.
"If the Centre can put the laws in abeyance for two years, why can't they simply revoke them and bring fresh legislations after due discussions with the farmers and other stakeholders?" he asked.
-- The story has been published from a wire feed without any modifications to the text