Statements of CM, Minister evoke ire

Agriculture Minister B.C. Patil calls protesting farmers ‘terrorists’

The creation of hurdles for tractor parades in the State, especially in Bengaluru, and statements by Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa and Agriculture Minister B.C. Patil against protesters drew widespread condemnation.

Mr. Yediyurappa had said on Tuesday, “Those protesting do not even know why they are protesting.” Mr. Patil had dubbed protesting farmers as “terrorists”.

Tractors became a bone of contention between farmers and the government. Even as farmers argued that tractors were key to their protest, Mr. Yediyurappa defended his government’s decision not to allow tractors inside the city citing traffic issues.

Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah tweeted: “B.S. Yediyurappa will pay the price for his anti-farmer stand in Karnataka and for his atrocities on farmers protesting for their rights.”

The Chief Minister had said in the morning, “Farmer leaders are misleading farmers to show they are alive. Those protesting don’t even know why they are protesting and are not forthcoming with their demands. I do not see why there must be any protest, after the Union government had agreed to put the farm laws on hold for two years and discuss the issues threadbare.”

This sparked outrage.

Farmers’ leader Kodihalli Chandrashekhar said the Chief Minister, who claims to be a farmers’ leader, should learn to respect farmers. “The farm laws have posed an existential threat to farmers in the country. This is a protest to save our lives, not over petty politics,” he hit back.

Another farmer leader H.R. Basavarajappa said the Chief Minister had shown his “true colours”.

Mr. Patil, referring to the violent turn the farmers’ movement took in Delhi, dubbed the protesters as “terrorists, Khalistanis and instigated by Congress.”

Mr. Chandrashekar responded, “It has now come to such a pass that farmers are being called anti-nationals and terrorists. Anyone who opposes this government will be branded a terrorist.”

Youth Congress workers have lodged a police complaint in the city against the Minister for his remarks.

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