Swaraj India chief Yogendra Yadav, detained by the Haryana Police at Gurugram, questioned why the state’s Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala recently held a rally with farmers if the coronavirus pandemic was the cause for crackdown on protesting farmers. “It is a very strange pandemic,” he told NDTV, in a jibe at the state’s BJP government led by Manoharlal Khattar.
“Three days ago, Dushyant Chautala rallied thousands of farmers. No mask. No social distancing. Then there is no pandemic. Bihar election – no pandemic. When farmers gather, then there is pandemic. This must be a very strange disease,” he added.
The Haryana government, which has been using water cannons, tear gas and riot vehicles to stop thousands of farmers marching towards Delhi, has cited the pandemic as a reason for its objection to the march. Since yesterday, it has declared prohibitory orders banning large gatherings in parts of the state.
The state police, while detaining Mr Yadav, had cited violation of prohibitory orders.
“The tactics being used by the government was similar to those used by the British against Indian nationalists,” Mr Yadav told NDTV, underscoring that like the freedom fighters in Bengal who fought for India’s and Bengal’s Independence, the farmers of Punjab were fighting for farmers across the country.