The saga of the farmer protest in India started after the Modi government passed 3 bills: The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020. The objective of the three proposed laws was to make way for creating the Modi government’s ambitious vision of ‘One India, One Agriculture Market’. The law intends to end the monopoly of Agriculture Produce Market Committees (APMCs) in carrying out the trade of farm produce in the country.
While the bills aimed to remove middlemen, empower farmers and increase their income, inexplicably, farmers from Punjab were not happy. Soon after the bills were passed, politicians from AAP and Congress, coupled with Left activists joined hands to spread misinformation regarding the bills and fan protests.
As soon as the misinformation started, protests erupted in Punjab and parts of Haryana.
As many as two dozen farmer organisations, including Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), All India Farmers Union (AIFU), All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), and All India Kisan Mahasangh (AIKM), came together for the ‘Bharat Bandh’ on September 25 to protest against farm Bills passed by Parliament amid massive protests from 18 opposition political parties. According to reports, 31 farmer organisations in Punjab and Haryana were already protesting and had then, alligned with political parties and called her a bandh.
These protests have now escalated massively in Punjab. Farmers from Punjab embarked on a journey to forcefully cross the border and reach Delhi. Several ‘farmers’ resorted to violence and worrying slogans, supporting Khalistan were also raised. With pro-Khalistan and anti-Indian slogans being raised during the ‘farmer protest’ along the Haryana-Punjab border, questions are being raised over the alleged involvement of SFJ in instigating Punjab farmers to protest against the Modi government under the pretext that the three farm bills are ‘anti-farmer’ in nature.
The shady role of the SFJ is being analysed as more and more details are emerging that points towards the possible interference of pro-Khalistan elements to hijack these farmer protest.
It is important to note that the Khalistan organisation SFJ, funded by Pakistan, had earlier declared a grant of $1 million for farmers in Punjab and Haryana in lieu of their support for Khalistan.
On 23rd September, it was reported that the SFJ had attempted to capitalise on the ongoing protests by farmers and had declared that it would distribute $1 million among farmers who had defaulted on agricultural loans.
“From October 1 to October 8, any farmer — irrespective of his faith — can register 25 votes for the Khalistan Referendum 2020 and get a grant of Rs 5,000 as assistance to repay their agricultural loans,” SJF said. The security agencies have since received inputs on the latest offer by SFJ.
Claiming that the Indian government’s new farms laws as a “colonial agenda to ultimately turn the farmers landless”, SFJ General Counsel, Gurpatwant Singh Pannu had tried to incite the farmers of Punjab by saying that the Modi government wanted to enslave the farmers of Punjab and Haryana by turning them into destitute. The SFJ had included farmers of Haryana also because they consider Haryana as part of Khalistan.
SFJ announced door-to-door campaign, tried to lure Sikhs to join Khalistan movement
Earlier in September itself, the banned pro-Khalistani group Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) had announced a door-to-door campaign for registration of voters supporting its separatist agenda called ‘Referendum 2020’.
The anti-terrorist agencies had then alerted the law-enforcement agencies in the states after the announcement. However, the Punjab government led by the Congress seems to have taken the Khalistan threat lightly resulting in Khalistan groups taking advantage of current farmer protests.
The US-based pro-Khalistani group, after failing to attract supporters for ‘Referendum 2010’, had come up with a new plan on Canadian and Russian portals announcing to recruit 1000 ambassadors for ‘Referendum 2020’. These ambassadors who will be provided with a monthly stipend of Rs 7,500 by the SFJ. The SFJ had aimed to cover 12,000 villages in Punjab within 30 days starting from September 21.
The terrorist group had earlier tried to lure farmers of Punjab by offering Rs 3,500 to each farmer as grant ahead of Referendum 2020. The group had announced that it would be providing money on a monthly basis to farmers who could not pay their loans. The MHA had ordered the properties of SFJ leaders to be attached earlier this month on the recommendation of the National Investigating Agency (NIA).
The Ministry of Home Affairs had declared the SFJ an unlawful association under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Its leaders including, Pannun, Najjar were also declared as terrorists under the Act.
Khalistan elements hijacking the farmer protest
It was earlier reported how the farmer protests are being hijacked by several Khalistani elements, posing a great risk for the security apparatus of the country. On Friday, the ongoing farmer protests along the Punjab-Haryana border also saw the participation of pro-Khalistani elements, who tried to hijack the farmer protests to incite Punjabi farmers against the Modi government.
A few Khalistani terror sympathisers disguised as farmers were caught gloating over the assassination of the former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, who also threatened PM Modi with a similar fate if their demands went unfulfilled.
Farmer protest or Referendum 2020? Listen and decide. pic.twitter.com/qisMGoXo9Z— Facts (@BefittingFacts) November 27, 2020
In one of the videos from the protests, one of the demonstrators can be seen threatening PM Modi with dire consequences if the solution is not reached in the upcoming meeting between the farmers and the Centre over the agriculture bills.
Further, the protests, apparently carried out by the farmers, were taken control by the Khalistani supporters, who raised pro-Khalistani slogans hailing the face of Khalistani movement – Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale.