32 farmer unions from Punjab not responsible for violence: Rajewal

Rakesh Tikait says those who created trouble identified, are from a political party

32 farmer unions from Punjab not responsible for violence: Rajewal

Farmers try to break barricades as they try to march towards Red Fort in New Delhi on Tuesday. PTI

Vibha Sharma

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 26

Amid growing criticism of violence by a section of farmers in Delhi, the leaders of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), the umbrella body of farmer unions agitating against the three farm laws, on Tuesday said the the 32 Punjab unions were following the set routes. 

It is the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Commitee that broke the rules and routes, they added.

"The rest are all following the set routes. The first group that broke the set routes was not part of the Punjab platform and since Monday farmer leaders from SKM were pleading with them not to do this," said Kavitha Kuruganti.

Balbir Singh Rajewal also said that the 32 unions from Punjab are following the route and rules. Rajewal criticised the violence and distanced himself from those indulging in violence, saying they were not part of the unions from Punjab.

Though the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Commitee (KMSC) may not be  a part of the platform of the 32 Punjab unions they participate in the SKM meetings.

Kavitha said, "Though they (KMSC) sit in the (SKM) meetings, on the issue related to the route of the parade they had separately negotiated with the police all day on Monday. And they did not listen to any SKM leader asking them not to force their way into Delhi."

While farmers took centrestage at the ITO and Red Fort, official sources said the SKM and its leaders were lauded by Union ministers for peaceful conduct of the agitation.

“Therefore, the responsibility that the agitation remains peaceful was also the responsibility of the unions and farmer leaders, which they failed today," they said.

Samyukta Kisan Morcha issued a detailed statement condemning the violence.

"We also condemn and regret the undesirable and unacceptable events that have taken place today and dissociate ourselves from those indulging in such acts," the umbrella body of farmer unions heading the agitation said  

Unions said despite their efforts, "some organisations and individuals have violated the route and indulged in condemnable acts".

"Anti-social elements had infiltrated the otherwise peaceful movement. We have always held that peace is our biggest strength, and that any violation would hurt the movement", the statement said.

"We dissociate ourselves from all such elements that have violated our discipline. We appeal strongly to everyone to stick to the route and norms of the Parade, and not indulge in any violent action or anything that taints national symbols and dignity. We appeal to everyone to desist from any such acts," the statement said.

 Meanwhile, farmer leader Rakesh Tikait claimed that those who were trying to create trouble had been identified. He said, “They belong to a political party, and we have identified them.”

Tikait appealed to protesters to keep to the parade's planned route. 

He said in a tweet in Hindi: "Farmers should maintain discipline. Parade on the designated path. Anybody who has forgotten the route and moved toward Delhi should return to the 'dharna'".

Given below is a detailed statement from the SKM

We thank farmers for the unprecedented participation in today's Farmers Republic Day Parade. We also condemn and regret the undesirable and unacceptable events that have taken place today and dissociate ourselves from those indulging in such acts.

Despite all our efforts, some organisations and individuals have violated the route and indulged in condemnable acts. Anti-social elements had infiltrated the otherwise peaceful movement. We have always held that peace is our biggest strength, and that any violation would hurt the movement.

The long struggle for more than 6 months now, and more than 60 days of protest at Delhi borders also seemed to have led to this situation.

We dissociate ourselves from all such elements that have violated our discipline. We appeal strongly to everyone to stick to the route and norms of the Parade, and not indulge in any violent action or anything that taints national symbols and dignity. We appeal to everyone to desist from any such acts.

SKM has been trying to get a full picture of all the events with regard to the several Kisan Parades that were planned today and will share a fuller statement soon.

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