Bengaluru: Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Monday condemned the arrest of farmers from the state in Bhopal when they were on their way to New Delhi to take part in a protest and urged the Madhya Pradesh government to release them immediately.
According to farmers' body Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), around 100 farmers from Karnataka, who were travelling in a train to the national capital to participate in the protest on February 13, were stopped at Bhopal by the state police.
Taking to social media platform 'X', Siddaramaiah said the arrest of Hubballi farmers by the Madhya Pradesh government, as they were heading to New Delhi to take part in the protest, is highly condemnable. ''I demand that the Madhya Pradesh government immediately release all the farmers from our state who have been arrested and allow them to participate in the protest at Jantar Mantar in Delhi tomorrow.
Although it is the government of Madhya Pradesh that has made the arrests, it is clear that the criminal brain behind this act is the central BJP government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi,'' he alleged in the post. The Chief Minister further said that by arresting and intimidating them, the farmers' struggle cannot be suppressed.
''Such repression might only lead more farmers to take to the streets, but the struggle of the sons and daughters of the soil will not cease. If the Central government truly cares about peace and order, it should immediately meet the demands of the farmers and resolve the issue, rather than repressing and brutalizing them to silence,'' he said. Terming the BJP as anti-farmer, Siddaramaiah further alleged that whether it's at the Centre or in the states, whenever the BJP comes to power, history bears witness that their first act of aggression is against farmers. ''The first time the BJP came to power in Karnataka, farmers asking for fertilizers were ruthlessly shot down by the government led by B S Yediyurappa. Several farmers died due to the violence inflicted on protesting farmers in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh by Narendra Modi's government at the Centre,'' he alleged in his post.
''Looking at the current actions of the Narendra Modi government, it seems their main aim is to intimidate the farmers into submission,'' he charged. Earlier in the day, addressing a press conference in Delhi, Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) South India Convenor Shanthakumar said he was also travelling with the group in the train and ''the police stopped us at the Bhopal station, and some of our members were injured.'' Shanthakumar somehow managed to reach the national capital.
Several farmer associations, mostly from Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab, have called for a march on February 13 to demand a law guaranteeing Minimum Support Price for their produce, one of the conditions they had set when they agreed to withdraw their agitation in 2021.