Tribune News Service
New Delhi, January 28
The Congress-led opposition on Wednesday said the Republic Day mayhem in the capital was a “government conspiracy” to discredit the farmers’ agitation and sought answers on how a section of aggressors were allowed to storm the Red Fort while Delhi police “looked the other way.”
The Congress and the CPM questioned the presence of “BJP associate Deep Sidhu” at the Red Fort on Tuesday and asked why, despite evidence of his role in the violence, he had not been booked or arrested.
“What was done yesterday was sacrilege and those who did it—Deep Sidhu and his gang—have been seen in the past cohabiting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah. Ample evidence is available to reveal Deep Sidhu’s BJP links. He was permitted to escape and cases are being slapped against the leaders of Samyukta Kisan Morcha who led a 63-day peaceful struggle for justice,” Congress chief spokesman Randeep Surjewala said, demanding Home Minister Amit Shah’s sacking for “complete intelligence and law and order failure.”
The CPM described the Delhi violence as a “handiwork of agent provocateurs, some with links to the ruling party, who have been denounced by the farmers’ movement”.
The CPM hailed the tractor parade and backed the farm unions’ decision to continue with the non-violent agitation.
A united opposition, including the TMC, NCP, Congress, CPM and Shiv Sena, demanded that farm laws be repealed at the earliest and the Centre take responsibility for failing to secure the capital yesterday.
“The Government failed to protect the capital. Obviously, they must have had intelligence about the mobilization. Why did they not stop it?” NCP chief Sharad Pawar asked, while TMC president Mamata Banerjee attacked the government for a “casual attitude towards farmers” and asked for agriculture reform legislation to be withdrawn, a demand repeated by Congress’ Rahul Gandhi, CPM’s Sitaram Yechury and Sena’s Sanjay Raut.
Also read: Heavy security cover at Delhi borders
The opposition is currently mulling a joint strategy on farm laws for the upcoming Budget Session of Parliament with Congress President Sonia Gandhi in talks with top leaders.
Meanwhile, Surjewala on Thursday accused the Centre of adopting a four-pronged strategy against the farmers who have been protesting peacefully for 63 days: “torment; tire out; divide and defame.”
“The conspiracy to defame the farmers is now unfolding. A set of people with a premeditated motive of violence and with no links to Samyukta Kisan Morcha were allowed to enter the Red Fort and hoist a flag in a sacrilegious act. Delhi police sat pretty on chairs as people stormed the Red Fort. This was a colossal security lapse and Amit Shah must be sacked for it,” said Surjewala describing Shah as India’s “weakest” Home Minister.
The Congress also drew parallels between the Red Fort violence and the Delhi riots that followed anti-CAA-NRC protests last year.
“There is a pattern to the manner in which legitimate protests are discredited. It is for all to see,” the Congress said.
OPPOSITION PARTIES BACK FARMERS
CPM Polit Bureau: “We hail the farmers’ tractor parade and extend full support to the Samyukta Kisan Morcha’s decision to continue the peaceful struggle till these retrograde farm laws are repealed.”
Mamata Banerjee: The government has treated the farmers with a casual attitude. It must repeal farm laws.
Randeep Surjewala: The abiding message of the Republic Day events was that the Government must listen to the people, shun arrogance and rescind farm laws.
Sharad Pawar: What happened in Delhi yesterday is the failure of the Centre. The Centre must repeal the farm laws and heed the farmers.