CCTV cameras, security review by farmer unions in the aftermath of Singhu border lynching
New Delhi, Oct 16 (PTI) Facing flak over the gruesome killing of a man at the Singhu border, farmer leaders on Saturday said they will upgrade security by installing CCTV cameras and increasing the number of volunteers a...
New Delhi, Oct 16 (PTI) Facing flak over the gruesome killing of a man at the Singhu border, farmer leaders on Saturday said they will upgrade security by installing CCTV cameras and increasing the number of volunteers at the protest sites even as they asserted that the incident will have no impact on the agitation against the Centre's three agri laws.
Lakhbir Singh, a 36-year-old Dalit farm labourer, was lynched on Friday allegedly by a group of Nihangs who accused him of desecrating a Sikh holy book. His body was found tied to an overturned police barricade at the Singhu Border protest site, with the left hand chopped off and over 10 wounds caused by sharp-edged weapons.
One Sarabjit Singh has been arrested and remanded in police custody for a week.
The Samyukta Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of farmer unions is spearheading the protests, issued a statement on Friday distancing itself from the incident and said that it wanted to make it clear that "both the parties to the incident", the Nihang group and the victim, have no relation with the Morcha.
Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), which is leading the charge at Ghazipur on the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border, said more cameras would be installed and there shall be a change in the deployment of volunteers at the protest site in the wake of the Friday incident.
“So far volunteers affiliated to local groups of farmer unions were deployed at the protest site to monitor the situation and coordinate security-related issues. But it has been decided now that such volunteers shall be deployed only by SKM at protest sites," BKU’s media in-charge Dharmendra Malik told PTI.
It was also decided that the groups or individuals who are participating in the movement but hold ideologies that are different from the SKM's policies shall be asked to vacate the protest sites or adopt the agendas of the farmers' collective, he added.
Farmer leader Abhimanyu Kohar of Bharatiya Kisan Mazdoor Mahasangh, which is part of SKM, said that the farmers' body stays proactive whenever such an incident occurs and revises its security details, if needed.
"Be it the West Bengal girl's incident or any other small issues, SKM remains at the front to offer help to the administration and the victims. And we keep reviewing our security arrangement and improve it when needed," Kohar said.
Harinder Singh Lakhowal, general secretary of BKU (Lakhowal), alleged that the incident was a ploy to divert attention from the Lakhimpur Kheri incident.
"Tell me one place where such incidents don't occur? In villages, cities, towns everywhere. But they create so much noise about this because they want to divert attention from Lakhimpur Kheri. No leader is talking about it, everyone is waiting for it to pass," Lakhowal said.
Farmer leader Kavitha Kuruganti of the Mahila Kisan Adhikar Manch also blamed the government "for pointing at one or two such incidents" and terming the protesters violent in the hope of weakening the movement.
"They pick up one or two incidents and say you are growing violent. We are not growing violent. We have been consistently peaceful.
"It's the government's tactics hoping that incidents like this will weaken the movement that ultimately it will disperse but is id not going to happen. We will only grow stronger. Our core value is of non-violence," Kuruganti said.
Meanwhile, the Congress also said on Friday that it was the government's responsibility to investigate the lynching, while the BJP asserted that in the name of farmers, the "anarchists" behind these protests need to be exposed.
Hundreds of farmers from different parts of the country have been camping at the Delhi borders since November 26 last year, demanding the repeal of the three new farm laws.
While the agitating unions have been expressing fear that the laws would do away with the Minimum Support Price system, leaving farmers at the mercy of the corporations, the government has been projecting them as major agricultural reforms.
Over 10 rounds of talks between the two sides have failed to break the deadlock.
The Supreme Court had stayed the implementation of the laws in January.