K’taka must withdraw cases against Rakesh Tikait: Kumaraswamy

Taking serious note of Karnataka police filing two suo moto cases against farmer leader Rakesh Tikait, Janata Dal (S) strongman H.D. Kumaraswamy on Thursday termed the move as “nothing but an attempt to silence the voice of the farmers”.

In a series of tweets, Kumaraswamy said that there was no provocative element in Tikait’s statement. “What Tikait said is that farmers need not come to Delhi for the struggle against the three new farm laws. You can launch a struggle here itself like the one in Delhi. This is just a faulty grasping of someone who feels that his statement is provocative,” he said.

He asserted that Tikait’s statement is well within the rights granted by the Constitution to take up struggles and to give a call for a movement. “He did not call for assaulting or killing. The case against Tikait should be withdrawn at the earliest,” he demanded.

Kumaraswamy alleged that the police have booked a case against Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Tikait in Shivamogga and Haveri on charges of delivering provocative speeches. “This is nothing but an attempt to silence the voice of the farmers,” he said.

“If they really wanted to book cases against those indulging in provocative speeches, how many cases would have been booked against BJP leaders by now,” he asked.

Tikait, who heads the Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU), had taken part in three rallies in Shivamogga, Bengaluru and Hubballi where he had stated that the farmers must unite and lay siege to the Vidhana Soudha to teach lessons to the politicians.

After this, the police in Shivamogga and Haveri had separately booked suo moto cases under Section 153 (provocation with intent to cause riot) of the Indian Penal Code.

The police alleged that Tikait’s speech had “incited people to cause violence on the lines of Delhi”. Despite being aware that the people may indulge in violence, he deliberately spoke in a way that may have incited the people, the police claimed.

Hitting out at the police action, Tikait had also tweeted that he is not scared of such cases and will withdraw the agitation only after the three farm laws are repealed.