Terming the issuance of lookout notices against farmer leaders as “absolutely wrong”, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Thursday said treating the farmers as a flight risk was not only illogical but condemnable.
“Where will they flee?” asked the Chief Minister, pointing out that most of them were small farmers with small land holdings and not big corporate raiders like Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi, Lalit Modi and Mehul Coksi, who had fled over the past few years after looting the country of billions of rupees. “You failed to stop these bigwigs but are now targetting these small farmers fighting for their survival,” said Captain Amarinder, urging the Centre to immediately direct the Delhi Police to withdraw the lookout notices.
The Chief Minister also questioned the Delhi Police decision to name farmer leaders in the FIRs of the Republic Day violence without any evidence against them. “How can you blame all the farmer leaders for the mischief done by a breakaway group or the handiwork of some anti-social elements, who instigated the violence at the Red Fort and other parts of the national capital,” he asked.
Reiterating his demand that the Delhi Police should not use the violence as an excuse to harass farmer leaders in order to weaken the agitation of the farmers, the Chief Minister pointed out that all the prominent leaders named in the FIRs had already distanced themselves for the lawlessness of January 26. Not a single one of them had reportedly been found so far to have made any inflammatory speeches or seen indulging in any provocative acts, he said. If the police have any evidence of the involvement of any of these leaders, they should make it public, the Chief Minister added.
Captain Amarinder urged the Centre to ensure a free and fair probe into the incidents of January 26 so that the real culprits could be identified and stern action initiated against them. Victimisation of farmer leaders was neither justified nor honourable, he added.