Farmers hold protest against BJP in Patiala, chase away local leader

When local leader Shanti Sapra was being escorted out, protesters carrying black flags chased him down the street.

CHANDIGARH: A group of farmers protesting against the Centre’s farm laws on Sunday chased away a local BJP leader and allegedly manhandled him during a protest against the party at Rajpura in Punjab’s Patiala district.

The BJP’s Punjab unit general secretary, Subhash Sharma, and party workers were later in the evening not allowed to come out of a house as scores of farmers laid siege.

Protesting farmers had gathered outside the venue of the BJP’s local leaders and workers’ meeting in Rajpura and started raising slogans against them.

This prompted police personnel deployed there to escort the party’s leaders and workers out of the building where the meeting was being held.

When local leader Shanti Sapra was being escorted out, protesters carrying black flags chased him down the street and allegedly manhandled him.

While police personnel were trying to protect him from the protesters, Sapra’s clothes were torn away.

A video clip of Sapra being chased away surfaced on social media.

Party leader Bhupesh Aggarwal, district rural unit chief Vikas Sharma and some other workers were taken to an adjoining house by the police.

Aggarwal, in a video clip released from the house, alleged that he was beaten up by the protesters and also claimed that his life was under threat.

The police, however, said they had deployed adequate personnel and the BJP leaders were taken out safely.

Later, the party’s general secretary, Subhash Sharma, arrived in Patiala to enquire about leaders and workers of the BJP who faced the wrath of the protesters.

But a large number of farmers reached the house where Sharma was present and laid siege.

They did not allow him and some other BJP workers to come out of the house for several hours despite the presence of heavy police force and continued to stage a protest till Sunday evening.

Sharma accused Congress workers of attacking the BJP under the guise of farmers.

He alleged that protesters were carrying swords and bricks.

The farmers on the other hand alleged that BJP workers used inappropriate language against the protesters and demanded an apology.

BJP national general secretary Tarun Chugh condemned the alleged “attack” on the party members and dubbed the incident a “daylight murder of democracy” under the Congress-led regime in Punjab.

In a statement, he alleged that the party’s political rivals, under the garb of the farmers’ protest, had been trying to “throttle” the voice of the BJP in the state.

Chugh slammed the Amarinder Singh-led Punjab government for allowing such elements a “free run” in the state.

“These goonda elements, in the name of farmers, have held the state to ransom and have plotted against the BJP,” he claimed.

Farmers have been protesting against BJP leaders and their programmes over the Centre’s three farm laws.

They have been camping at Delhi’s borders for over seven months in protest against the laws.

The three laws: The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020, were passed by Parliament in September last year.

Farmer groups have alleged that these laws will end the ‘mandi’ and the MSP procurement systems and leave the farmers at the mercy of big corporates, even though the government has rejected these apprehensions as misplaced.

Source: The Indian Express

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