PM Modi pained by farmers' protest, says Rajnath Singh
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is pained by the farmers' protest against three agricultural laws, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said in an exclusive interview with ANI on Wednesday. The statement comes as farmers are set to hold the sixth round of talks with the government to resolve the protest that has continued for over a month. Here's more on what he said.
Speaking on the farmers' protest in Delhi, Singh said both he and the PM were pained by the protests by farmers. When asked about "Naxal" and "Khalistani" remarks made by members of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) against farmers, Singh said he disapproved of such remarks. He said farmers are our "annadata" (food providers) and described them as India's economic backbone.
Singh urged farmers to hold a logical debate on every clause of the laws with the government. The farmers demand a complete rollback of the laws. Some forces have tried to create misconceptions about the laws, he said, targeting the Opposition. He also said that he understands farmers' issues better than Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, having been born "from the womb of a farmer-mother."
Touching upon the months-long India-China border row along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, he said that "no meaningful solution" has emerged from the several rounds of diplomatic and military level talks between the two nations. However, he said that "there is status quo." He further said that India has the strength to not let its land go into anyone's hand.
Singh said Pakistan has been resorting to 300-400 ceasefire violations in the last few months. He assured that the Indian Army has been giving a befitting reply. "The country's soldiers have proved that not only this side, but to eliminate terrorism they can go to the other side and attack terrorist hideouts if the need arises. India has that capability, that power," he said.
Speaking about the recent local body elections in Jammu and Kashmir, where the BJP had emerged as the single-largest party, Singh said that "terrorism and separatism were defeated." Singh refuted allegations by National Conference and PDP leaders that there was no "level playing field" in the polls. "Everyone was free. Nobody was under detention and were free to move about," he said.
Days after Madhya Pradesh approved an ordinance against forced religious conversions, Singh said he personally does not approve of religious conversion for marriage. "I want to ask why there should be a conversion. The practice of mass conversions should stop," he said. "As far as I know, in the Muslim religion, one cannot marry someone from another religion," he added.