Hooligans, not farmers: Union Minister on journo attack at Jantar Mantar
Newly appointed Union minister Meenakshi Lekhi referred to protesting farmers as hooligans while talking about an alleged attack on a media person during the ‘Farmers’ Parliament’ at the Jantar Mantar in Delhi on Thursday. The minister of state for external affairs and culture said the opposition was promoting such activities.
“They are not farmers, they are hooligans... These are criminal acts. What happened on January 26 was also shameful criminal activities. The Opposition promoted such activities,” Lekhi was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
Later, Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait hit out at Lekhi said farmers are annadatas' (providers) and to call them such names is inappropriate. "Hooligans are the ones who have nothing. It is wrong to make such remarks for farmers. We are farmers, not hooligans. Farmers are 'anndatas' of the land," Tikait was quoted as saying.
The farmers protesting for months along the borders of Delhi against three Central laws began their ‘Farmer Parliament’ on Thursday at the Jantar Mantar. Delhi Lt Governor Anil Baijal has given special permission for a demonstration by a maximum of 200 farmers at Jantar Mantar, a few metres from the Parliament Complex, till August 9, where the Monsoon Session is underway.
A journalist, Nagendra, was reportedly attacked by a woman with a stick at the protest ground. In a video that has been doing the rounds for a while now, the journalist can be seen showing his injuries and saying, “A woman journalist tried interviewing the protestors when a female protester got abusive. When a couple of us went to talk to her, she tried smashing my head with a stick,” Nagendra said.
He is further heard saying there are some elements present in the protest who are creating a ruckus.
On Republic Day, this year, a tractor rally by the protesting farmers had turned violent and many of them had occupied the Red Fort, deviating from their initially agreed upon route. Some of them were even seen unfurling their flags from the ramparts of the fort. Several cases were registered following the incidents of violence on the fort’s premises. The protesters had also entered Delhi city by breaking police barricades