'Tit-for-tat' against protesting farmers; Haryana CM calls for armed groups
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar is at the heart of a controversy after his remarks on the farmers' protest have gone viral. In a video, Khattar can be heard calling for volunteers to join armed groups to give "tit-for-tat" treatment to protesting farmers. He also asked such volunteers to not fear jail time, promising that they would become "big leaders" after their release.
Khattar made the remarks while addressing a crowd of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) supporters at a meeting of the party's Kisan Morcha on Sunday. A clip from the event is now doing the rounds where Khattar is heard saying, "Form groups of 500, 700, 1,000 farmers and make them volunteers. And then at every place, 'sathe sathyam samacharet'. What does it mean—it means tit-for-tat."
Khattar further said, "Do not worry...when you remain there (in jail) for a month, three months or six months, you will become big leaders, your names will be etched in history." Khattar also said that the protests are limited to Haryana's northern and western districts.
Slamming Khattar for his remark, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala tweeted, "This call to spread anarchy at an open program after taking the oath of Constitution is treason. Seems you also have the nod of Modi-Naddaji in this." "The time has come for showing the door to such an anarchic government," he said, adding that the party's violent plan will never be successful.
Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) leader Abhay Singh Chautala also said that Khattar wanted to spread anarchy in the state by speaking the "language of violence." Chautala said Khattar should be booked for sedition and also demanded his suspension.
The Samyukta Kisan Morcha—which has been spearheading the farmers' protest—also criticized the remarks. Demanding Khattar's resignation, the SKM said, "It is clear where officials like (IAS officer) Ayush Sinha get their impunity from. While the farmers' movement has explicitly made peace and non-violence its values, it is clear that the government is acting with murderous intent on its own citizens."
As the Karnal Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Sinha had asked cops to "break the heads" of protesting farmers. The same day, the police baton-charged protesting farmers. At least 10 people were reportedly injured and one of them died from a heart attack a day later.