Baghel slams nails, barricades at farmer protest sites

New Delhi, Feb 06 (PTI): Slamming the Centre over the treatment of farmers protesting the new farm laws, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Saturday likened the installing of multi-layered barricading and nails at protest sites to the old tactics of “dacoits” blocking routes of villages while caring out robberies, and accused the government of internationalising the farmers’ issue.
The senior Congress leader also warned that if the government does not resolve the issue of farmers soon, the agitation will spread across the country.
In an interview to PTI, Baghel said the farmers were demanding that there should be a guarantee on the Minimum Support Price (MSP) which should be given to them.
“Why only Punjab, Haryana and Chhattisgarh, in the whole country, crops should be bought at MSP,” he asserted.
He dismissed the suggestion that the Opposition could not forcefully raise the voice for the farmers on the three farm laws, saying former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi was the first one to raise the matter.
“When these laws were made, Rahul Gandhi was the first one to raise this issue, even in Parliament. He also carried out tractor rallies in Punjab and Haryana. He showed the way and then farmers proceeded on that path,” Baghel said.
The farmers are carrying out a non-political movement which is a good thing, but Rahul Gandhi had taken the initiative, the Chhattisgarh chief minister added.
He asserted that the Opposition strongly opposed the laws both inside and outside Patliament, and to say that they did not raise their voice forcefully is absolutely wrong.
Asked about the multi-layered barricading and iron nails studded on roads at the protest sites on Delhi’s border points, Baghel said that in the olden days “when dacoits used to carry out dacoities in villages, they used to cut off all the routes by installing nails and leave just one route open for their exit.”
“Now, the government is doing that,” he added.
On the controversy over global celebrities such as singer Rihanna and climate activist Greta Thunberg expressing support to the farmers’ protests, Baghel question the government’s approach of countering them by issuing an official statement.
“You (the government) are further encouraging this by reacting to it. They (the government) have internationalised it. If you would not have reacted, it would not have been internationalised,” the Chhattisgarh chief minister said.

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