Coming down heavily on the high-handedness of the BJP-ruled Centre as well as the BJP-ruled Haryana government for taking brutal measures to stop the peaceful march of the farmers from reaching Delhi, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Delhi Convenor and Cabinet Minister Shri Gopal Rai demanded that the farmers’ demand be met in consultation without any delay.

Farmers from Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan are demanding the minimum support price (MSP) for their produce as assured by the Prime Minister at the time of withdrawal of three contentious farm laws in November 2021. They have planned to march to Delhi on February 13.

Addressing media persons here today, AAP Delhi State Convenor Shri Gopal Rai said the farmers of the country produce food by putting their blood and sweat in the scorching sun, in the bitter cold and the rain but they are being treated cruelly. “They work to feed everyone from the village Patwari of India to the Prime Minister of the country. They produce food grains for the people of this country, irrespective of caste, religion, region, status, gender, and age. But to prevent the Delhi march of the farmers on the 13th, the BJP government of Haryana, on the instructions of the BJP’s central government, is treating the farmers in a more cruel manner than the British, adopting a dictatorial attitude. To stop them, it is adopting all the tactics which today are reminiscent of the era of slavery,” he said.

He played a video from Haryana to show the reporters how brutality and repression are being committed by the BJP government there, which was reminiscent of the British era in India. Shri Gopal Rai said, “During the freedom movement, whether it is a film based on the life of Bhagat Singh, Subhash Chandra Bose or Mahatma Gandhi, Ambedkar if you watch all the films during the freedom movement, you will see such scenes in those films showing what kind of cruelty. The British government crossed all limits to suppress the demand for freedom to keep the people of this country enslaved.”

The AAP Delhi Convenor said the freedom fighters of India’s struggle must be taking turns in their graves to see the current-day atrocities on the farmers and nothing can be more unfortunate than this. “If the souls of the freedom fighters were watching, they would not be able to believe how farmers are being treated in independent India for peacefully demanding what was assured to them by the Central government. The farmers want to come to Delhi and the roads have been barricaded to stop them. Perhaps such a strong wall has not been built even on the India-Pakistan border. The nails that have been hammered in front of the stone walls have not been nailed on the ground by the BJP government. This is hitting nails into the hearts of the farmers. And if BJP thinks that they are giving slogans that they are going to cross 400 and hence will hit the nails in the hearts of the farmers, I think nothing more painful and more unfortunate than this can happen in India today.”

Shri Gopal Rai said he wondered if the farmers from Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan are farmers of India or not. “After all, what is the compulsion facing the BJP governments that today the government is crossing all limits to stop farmers from coming to Delhi? For them, it is one thing to give a speech about India being the Mother of Democracy and it is another thing to protect the honor and dignity of the Mother of Democracy. Today, the BJP is violating all the norms and traditions of democracy and is trying to hit the nail in the farmers’ hearts. This country will not tolerate it at any cost.”

The AAP Delhi Convenor said the country remembers the last time when the farmers had marched to Delhi against the three black laws, they were stopped at the border. The movement continued for more than a year, they bore a chilly winter and had to endure scorching heat and rain showers on the roads. People had tolerated it but they were not shaken, the government had to bow down and the Prime Minister of the country apologized and withdrew those three black laws. He had assured the farmers MSP guarantee at that time. “The last session of the Parliament has ended, the interim budget has been passed, the Prime Minister has gone out for the election campaign and now everyone is waiting to see whether the MSP guarantee law will come or not,” he said.

Shri Gopal Rai said on the one hand, the government is pretending to negotiate and on the other hand, you have just seen how the police are being sent to every village in Haryana, threatening to confiscate passports, freeze bank accounts and the police are collecting property papers. Instructions have been given at the petrol pumps that petrol and diesel have to be given to the farmers only within a limit. “Such a situation was not seen even during the Emergency in India. Such a situation was not seen in this country even during the freedom struggle. On one hand, you are arrogant that you are going to burn the country inside and on the other hand, you are afraid of farmers coming to Delhi to bring you. When was the last time there was a movement after the farmers’ movement? Before the elections in Uttar Pradesh, the Prime Minister of the country, Narendra Modi, himself, had said that we are withdrawing these three black laws and giving relief to the farmers and there was talk of forming a committee on the issue of MSP to the farmers. What has the committee done to date?” he said.

The AAP Delhi Convenor said when the Centre has broken its promise, what option do farmers have? “You will leave with a promise and if the farmer wants to come to his own country’s capital to peacefully put forward his demand, you will hammer nails, you will confiscate his passport, you will freeze his bank account, you will freeze his property. You will confiscate his property documents, you will confiscate his tractor. Why do you consider farmers as traitors?” he said.

Shri Gopal Rai said that each and every leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party boasts in every media channel, on the streets that 80 crore people are being given ration. “The Modi government gives ration to 80 crore people. Is the ration produced in the office of the Bharatiya Janata Party? Who produces wheat, farmers produce it, who produces rice, farmers produce it. You want to harvest the election crop on the basis of the yield due to the hard work of the farmer. Now you are crossing all limits so that you can win the elections. The arrogance of the British was not left inside this country, elections are not everything if you attack the hearts of the farmers like this. Votes have not yet been cast, if you believe you will polarize and win the elections and no one can do anything, this is the same country in which British rule was overthrown by the people with their movements. The people of this country might tolerate the dictatorship of every government, but there is a limit to it. Today, the Bharatiya Janata Party government is crossing all limits and stopping the helpless farmers from raising their voices peacefully and democratically. More than 700 farmers died in the previous farmers’ movement during the Bharatiya Janata Party rule and the compensation the government had promised has not been given to date. The cases filed against the farmers have not been withdrawn.”

The AAP Delhi Convenor said today again a letter has been sent to the farmers in Chandigarh to fulfil the promise. Central ministers Arjun Munda, Piyush Goyal and Nityanand Rai want to hold talks again. “Your letter of talks is also a fraud as on the one hand, you are calling farmers to the table and on the other hand, nails are being hammered on the roads. It means that even today you are not ready to accept the demands of the farmers. You do not want to accept the demands of the farmers. That is why since the previous farmers’ movement till date, you have done nothing.

Shri Gopal Rai appealed to the Centre as well as the Khattar government in Haryana to settle the matter immediately or else face the consequences in the upcoming elections. “You enumerated many achievements in Parliament, Parliament session has ended, the Prime Minister has gone out for election campaign and farmers are waiting whether the law to guarantee MSP will come or not. Today the farmer has been forced to come out. Therefore, we appeal to the BJP leaders not to become so arrogant. I also want to request the Khattar government of Haryana that the kind of cruelty with which you are moving towards crossing the limits on the orders of the central government is proving to be a dark chapter in the democracy of this country. This picture, this video, and this announcement will be remembered by the generations to come. The Central Government will also be held to account in the next assembly elections. If Khattar Saheb does not take back all the limits crossed, then the farmers of Haryana will give a befitting reply in Haryana too. My demand from the Central Government is that you should immediately withdraw all the restrictions that you have imposed for the talks that you have called today. Talk to the farmers with an open mind and resolve the issue. Today the whole country wants this.

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