Farmers risk losing public sympathy

Farmers risk losing public sympathy
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Farmers risk losing public sympathy

Highlights

The news of a Dalit Sikh protestor at the Shunglu border of Delhi being done to death in a dastardly manner did not shake the conscience of India.

The news of a Dalit Sikh protestor at the Shunglu border of Delhi being done to death in a dastardly manner did not shake the conscience of India. In fact, it was not even in headlines where it should have been. Afterall, this came soon after Lakhmipur Kheri lynching which has become the primetime news since then.

There are several incidents or developments to the farmers' protest at Delhi that never made it to the news. No doubt, these farmers are now well entrenched at the sites and they are bracing up to face the second cruel winter of their protest. Despite the communication network these people have developed and the excellent news relay system that they have, they plead "no information."

The farmers first disowned the January 26 ruckus when a section of the farmers ran amuck driving their tractors all the way up to the Red Fort. The Morcha disowned it. Later, they said it could be a ploy of the ruling party to destabilise their movement. They now believe it to be so anyway. Next came the Lakhimpur Kheri issue and the Kisan Morcha leaders, particularly Rakesh Tikait, went for the jugular of the BJP, then cooled off to "settle the issue" through talks and came to Delhi to justify the lynching of the BJP leader's followers as a 'reaction to an action.'

Now comes the Lakhbir Singh's murder at the Singhu camp. This poor Dalit farmer was a resident of the Cheema Khurd village in Tarn Taran in Punjab and is survived by his wife Jaspreet Kaur and three children aged 8, 10 and 12. This poor farmer ended up as chopped meat tied to a police barricade and the killers claim that he had shown disrespect to a holy book of theirs. Lakhbir Singh's mutilated body was found near a farmers' protest site at Kundli in Haryana's Sonipat district on Friday. One of his hands and legs were chopped off, and he was tied to a metal barricade when the locals first spotted him. As the gruesome murder came to light, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) alleged that Nihang Sikhs lynched the 35-year-old man whose one hand was cut from his wrist.

The SKM is an umbrella body of over 40 farmer unions leading the agitation against the Centre's three farm laws. However, it did not own up any responsibility. It simply washed its hand off the whole issue initially and later said "it suspected someone's hand behind it" to seek a probe. The pointer was obvious. The Morcha sought to blame the Centre for the murder. This is the tragedy with the Morcha. It is quite convenient to blame the Centre for anything and everything because of the stand of the fringe Hindu groups. The Opposition too finds it convenient to do so and so does a select group of so-called intellectuals and liberals in the country. Those who either keep quiet or criticise the government should know that Lakhbir was killed in a farmer's camp and not away from it. If a group or union or an organisation is holding a protest – a well-organised protest at that – it should also own up the developments within. The SKM will lose the sympathy of the people if it keeps offering alibis and continues to associate with such violent groups within.

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