The outrageous attack on the BJP MLA from Abohar, Arun Narang, deserves to be condemned in the strongest possible terms. The Punjab Chief Minister’s directions for swift and stringent action against the perpetrators is all too well, but a clear message needs to be sent out that lawlessness would not be tolerated at any cost. The farmers’ organisations, which have gained tremendous traction and support from all sections of society in the region, too, bear responsibility to come out strongly in their outright rejection of such rowdyism. What happened in Malout last week trampled on all codes of civilised behaviour and if not checked at once, can have dangerous ramifications.
A people’s representative, or anyone for that matter, being subjected to such crass and boorish conduct is a matter of shame. The animosity on display has to be proactively discouraged. The opposition is to the farm legislations, not individuals holding a different view or who may just be toeing the party line. The state has seen days not in the very distant past that it would rather not remember. For Punjab’s sake, all political parties should shed their differences for a brief moment and publically resolve that no attempt to create divisions, social or communal, is allowed to succeed. An all-party meeting could be the first step to douse any feelings of ill-will and simmering tension.
Protesting is a democratic right, but resorting to violence and venting out anger in ways that pose a risk to an individual’s physical well-being cannot in any way be condoned. The hope that New Delhi would accelerate the process to resolve the standoff with the protesting farmers at the borders looks dim. That gives no right whatsoever to any protester or sympathiser to the cause to take the law into his or her hands. Frustration over non-acceptance of demands is understandable, but it cannot be made an excuse to resort to unlawful activities.