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Friday, September 24, 2021

“Don’t hurt Punjab’s economy with protests, do it in Delhi, Haryana”: Punjab CM Amarinder Singh to farmers

In a shocking speech which reeks of parochialism and hypocrisy, Punjab CM was heard requesting protesting farmers to ‘not hurt Punjab’s economy’, but do ‘whatever they wanted to in Delhi/Haryana’.

The leader of a ‘national’ party like Congress saying such divisive things would have sent shockwaves through any normal country. But the ruling elites and national media of the secular Republic of India are a breed apart. This astonishing comment was watered down and distorted by Lutyens’ media organisations like Doon-educated Aroon Purie’s India Today.

First, lets see the factual manner in which the much-derided Hindu ‘right-wing’ handles, who actually act as citizen watchdogs, reported the statement –

Amarinder Singh made these comments after laying the foundation stone of Government College, Mukhilana, in Hoshiarpur. An English translation of what he said in Punjabi follows –

“I want to tell my farmer brothers that this Punjab is yours, your land, your people…let’s not spoil our Punjab. Do what you want to do in Delhi. Bring pressure on them, convince them (to withdraw the farm laws). But here, think of Punjab’s development.

Punjab’s population is rising, so we need development. I am sure you will heed this message and won’t allow such things (protests) to happen here in our Punjab. Do you know, farmers are sitting within Punjab at 113 spots – who gains from this? It will cause economic loss to Punjab only. What they are doing in Delhi, Harayana, let them. You also do it there. But to sit on protest at 113 sites in Punjab, to hurt Punjab’s economy, is pointless. I am sure farmers will understand this point.”

This is a naked, parochial call which divides the citizens of Bharat along state and regional lines. Honestly, when the CM of a state talk like this, unmindful of the violence that was unleashed by ‘farmers’ at Red Fort in Delhi on Republic Day, unmindful of the death threats directed at the PM, it is no wonder that Khalistani separatism is rearing its ugly head again in Punjab. 

Do Amarinder and his Congress bosses not care for the suffering these misguided and illegal protests have wreaked on innocent citizens of Delhi, Haryana and West UP? Or how the protest sites turned into super-spreaders of Coronavirus and triggered the deadly second wave in Uttar Bharat? Or how the protest leaders have contemptuously refused to engage with agricultural experts and even dismissed the Supreme Court’s intervention in the matter?

Let there be no doubt – the 3 new farm laws are much-needed structural reforms intended to permanently raise agricultural incomes and transform Bharatiya agriculture from a locally managed rural economy into a modern national industry. They are being opposed by a section of better-off farmers, primarily from the politically powerful Jat land-holding community (both Sikh and Hindu) in Punjab and Haryana, who fear that the reforms will upset rural hierarchies and undermine traditional ways of life.

These farmers have benefitted disproportionately from the MSP (Minimum Support Price) system under which the government procures almost the entire grain output of these two states at above market price. And even though the new laws don’t say anything about changing the current MSP system, protest leaders have indulged in scare-mongering that MSP will be abolished by these laws. They are now demanding that MSP be made a legal right and extended to cover many more crops than it presently does – a move which, if implemented, would absolutely break the Union budget. Incidentally, a lot of the grain procured by the government actually rots in FCI godowns. 

Sensing an opportunity to spread anarchy, radical leftists, Khalistanis, Islamists and some perpetual malcontents (andolanjeevis) too have entered the protests.

India Today’s dishonest reporting of Amarinder’s comments

So how did India Today choose to report Amarinder’s comments? As is usually the case with Lutyens’ media, the dishonest reporting is clear from the headline itself –

India Today headline claims the Punjab CM ‘hit out’ at farmer unions, a dishonest take on what he actually said.

No, Amarinder did not ‘hit out’ at farmer unions. He merely requested them to move their protests out of Punjab and do whatever they want in Delhi and Haryana to win their battle with the center.

The phrase ‘accused them of causing economic losses’ seen in the sub-heading is another example of unethical/incompetent journalism. That these protests are causing economic loss and hurting the nation’s economic recovery from the pandemic is beyond debate – exhibit Aexhibit B. A honest reporter would inform the reader of these relevant facts.

The, the Indian Today report adds – “Amarinder Singh’s remarks came as a surprise to many as he has supported the farmers’ cause since they began their stir last year. The Punjab CM’s U-turn on the farmers’ protests is significant ahead of the state assembly election next year.”

Amarinder has not made any U-turn. He just doesn’t want the protests to cripple his state, but is fully in support of whatever mayhem, chaos and disturbance is caused to other states in guise of protests. He is not even asking the protestors to engage responsibly with the centre, or move their protest to designated sites! In what imaginary universe can his words be interpreted as a U-turn?    

“The farmers’ protest against the three contentious farm laws has completed ten months since they first arrived at Delhi borders. They have been demanding the repeal of the laws, which they are afraid will do away with the MSP system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporations.”

Again, an honest reporter would inform the reader that the farmers’ “fears” are totally baseless and most likely a propaganda tool to win public sympathy. 


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