Samyukt Kisan Morcha demands judicial probe into attack on Rakesh Tikait

Condemning the attack on farmers leaders Rakesh Tikait and others in Bengaluru and terming it “sponsored by the BJP”, the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) on Monday demanded punishment to the culprits, action against officers guilty for negligence, and a judicial inquiry into the incident.

Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Tikait was attacked with black paint during a press conference at Bengaluru on ‘Raita Chaluvali, Aatmavalokana haagu Spasteekarana Sabha (Farmer’s Movement, Introspection and Clarification Meeting)’ organised by Karnataka State Farmers Association, affiliated to the SKM, and Hasiru Sene.

“Based on the information received so far, it is clear that farmers leaders Tikait, Yudhveer Singh and Kavitha Kuruganti were refuting the propaganda against the farmers’ movement by TV channels in Karnataka during the past few days. During this, one person got up in a pre-planned manner and hit the TV channel’s boom mic on Tikait’s face and another person came and threw ink at him. The attackers were raising slogans of ‘Jai Modi’ and ‘Modi, Modi’,” the SKM said in a statement.

“Till now, the main accused Bharat Shetty has been identified and is in police custody. The photo of the prime accused along with former Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddiyurappa, (his son and) BJP’s state Vice pPesident Vijayendra, current Home Minister Araga Jnanendra and Irrigation Minister Govind Karjol has now made it clear that the attack was sponsored by the BJP,” the Morcha alleged.

“It is also clear that the BJP government had not made any security arrangements, despite the tense atmosphere due to a TV channel propaganda campaign against the farmers’ movement for the past few days.

“The ink could have been replaced with acid or even a bomb, the consequences of which could have been fatal. It is now clear that the attackers had the full support of the BJP and the Karnataka government,” alleged the SKM – a consortium of 40-odd farmers’ organisations that had been part of the agitation against the now-repealed three farm laws since mid-2020.

Stating that it would “not be appropriate to ignore this as a small incident, since Rakesh Tikait has been attacked in the past as well”, the SKM said: “The Samyukta Kisan Morcha, therefore, demands that the culprits of this incident should be given strict punishment, the police officers guilty for this negligence should be immediately suspended, a judicial inquiry should be ordered into this incident and the political conspiracy behind it.”

“Tikait should be provided security,” the SKM demanded.

“This incident has once again exposed the anti-farmer face of BJP. Farmers know how to teach a lesson through peaceful and democratic means to this government, which has repeatedly cheated the farmers and sponsored attacks on them,” the SKM said.

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