The most worrying aspect in the current farmers’ agitation in Delhi, entering its 16th day, is the infiltration of anti-national elements among the ranks of protesters. In my prime time show ‘Aaj Ki Baat’ on Thursday night, we showed a video of few farmers from Punjab carrying placards demanding release of Sharjeel Imam, Umar Khalid, Khalid Saifi and Elgar Parishad activists, all part of ‘Tukde-Tukde’ gang, presently in custody.
Sharjeel Imam is a JNU activist who has been charged with sedition by at least five state governments for making communal, separatist and inflammatory speeches that led to riots in Delhi. Sharjeel Imam had mobilized anti-national elements during the Shaheen Bagh agitation and had conspired with rioters during this year’s Delhi riots.
Umar Khalid is a prominent JNU student leader and he has been charged with planning the conspiracy to foment Delhi riots early this year. He is presently in jail. Umar Khalid had also protested the execution of Kashmiri separatists Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhat. He is known as the leader of ‘tukde-tukde’ gang that organized the infamous rally in JNU campus during which ‘Bharat tere tukde honge’ slogans were chanted. Khalid Saifi is another accused in this year’s Delhi riots and is presently out on bail.
On Thursday, when I initially saw the video I could not believe my eyes. How could women farmers, most of them illiterate, hold placards carrying pictures of these ‘tukde-tukde’ gang activists? I asked our reporters to find out and it was confirmed that the farmers were indeed carrying these placards and chanting slogans demanding the release of these activists.
The rally was organized by Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ugrahan) to celebrate International Human Rights Day, at Delhi’s Tikri border. They were demanding the release of ‘urban Naxal’ Elgar Parishad leaders like Gautam Navlakha, Anand Teltumbde, Varvara Rao, Sudha Bhardwaj, most of whom are in jail on charge of anti-national activities.
I doubt whether the Punjab farmers are aware of the activities of these radical leaders. Normally, farmers do not know much about the activities of anti-national elements who try to weaken national unity by promoting communal hatred, Maoist insurrection and separatist movements. These farmers from Punjab can be easily duped by elements who have been telling them that all these activists have been jailed under ‘false charges’.
Till now, we have only been hearing charges by BJP leaders that anti-national elements have hijacked the farmers’ agitation, but after watching the video, one is convinced that ‘tukde-tukde’ gang activists have already made their entry into the ranks of farmers. Slogans were chanted from the podium demanding release of Sharjeel Imam and Umar Khalid.
In ‘Aaj Ki Baat’ show, we showed farmer leader Darshanpal Singh speaking out in support of these separatists. When we showed this video to UP Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait, he agreed that farmers, from now onwards, must be on guard against anti-social and anti-national elements who are trying to infiltrate their ranks. They must not be allowed to misuse the platform of farmers, he said.
Most of the people of India sympathize with farmers who are fighting for protecting their rights over their farmland and crops. They have sympathy for farmers who have been camping in the open during Delhi’s harsh winter. Nobody wants that our ‘annadatas’ (food providers) should continue sitting in the open on highways, facing difficulties. Most of the people want that the Centre should accept the justified demands of farmers, but if anti-national and separatist elements enter their ranks, people’s sympathy for farmers will be eroded.
I think different elements with vested interests have already infiltrated the ranks of farmers. Some of them are singing paeans in praise of Rahul Gandhi, some are insisting on boycott of all products and services marketed by Ambani and Adani groups, and some are carrying on with their insidious propaganda in support of ‘urban Naxals’ and separatists.
Farmer leaders must realize that no solution can be found if anti-national elements join the ranks of their supporters. I hope farmer leaders from Punjab farmer leaders will listen to sage advice from leaders like Rakesh Tikait and remove all anti-national elements who have infiltrated their ranks.
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