Explained Featured National

Anatomy of a ‘Farmer Protest’ – A Story of Subversion

What we witnessed on 26 January 2021 is not an upholding of the Republic. Scenes of chaos and violence that marred the tarring of the sacred symbols screamed across news channels, with the same gangs horrified to see visuals of blood, vandalism and secessionist ideologies floating around for a while.

However much the Congress and Left ecosystem may pretend otherwise, they know very well what was happening in the name of farm protests for more than two months at the Singhu and Ghazipur borders of Delhi. Their deliberate and rather pathetic cover up attempts, followed by monkey balancing only worthy of mocking, has not only exposed them but also exposed their anti-national stance when it comes to creating anarchy with a single aim – getting rid of a democratically elected government sitting at the Centre.

When statements first came out about protestors claiming with pride of shooting dead a former Prime Minister as a veiled threat, alarm bells should have been ringing.

Even as some people within the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party cautioning against the presence of subversive elements in the protests, what we saw was an attempt to browbeat them by the media and sections of the political class. Even after the Attorney General of India put on record with the Supreme Court the presence of such forces at the protest sites, a particular sense of scorn and cynicism was put out by the large sections of the Congress and Left ecosystem and their sympathizers. There were people in the media who scoffed at these allegations and tried to belittle them. However, what has since transpired would perhaps show them the mirror.

Professional Instigators Join Forces

We have seen, much like was the case of Delhi violence last year, a long litany of lies and instigations put out over the past three months among the farmer groups about the farm law amendments and the supposed corporatization of agriculture and crony capitalism. Charges without any substance have been thrown around to create confusion and anarchy, inflaming passions and even warning those within the farming community who did not want to support their ‘cause’.

Professional agitator Medha Patkar, whose credentials with respect to her fake Sardar Sarovar agitation are well recognized by now, was seen on several occasions engaging in creating a fake narrative in the past few months. At the tri-junction between UP, MP and Haryana during the march to Delhi earlier this month, she was stopped by the police from going further. However, she took the occasion to instigate the crowd with inflammatory slogans by claiming that “this is just the beginning – the battle was yet to start”.

Medha was also present on 9 January 2021, at a time when some progress had been achieved in the talks between farmers unions and the government. What was the role played by Medha Patkar is a question that subsequently arises, because the next round of talks saw things going back to square one. One wonders how someone who had protested against a pro-farmer Sardar Sarovar dam suddenly discovered support for farmers in her heart.

Meanwhile, another instigator, Yogendra Yadav’s role has been more than a mere participant. He has been at the forefront of spreading propaganda and ensuring that there is utter mayhem in the city. On several occasions, Yogendra Yadav was seen and heard speaking things that would make any sensible person baulk.

Yogendra Yadav’s announcement was absolutely emphatic when he along with other farm union leaders supposedly leading the negotiations told press reporters that “We will not stop at the barricade; instead, will enter Delhi.”

Following the aggressive posturing, the Delhi Police relented and gave consent on the routes that the farmers could follow. At that time, these so-called farmer leaders supposedly promised to go by the routes, which Yogendra Yadav also acknowledged.

However, there was clearly a change of tone the next day. Again adopting an aggressive posture, Yadav goes on to say that while the protest will be peaceful, “One lakh tractors would descend on Delhi.” The tone and tenor spoke for itself – it was one of intimidation, an attempt to browbeat using a sweet tone.

This attempt to be sweet yet intimidating was not the first of its kind. Earlier, Yogendra Yadav had, to put it mildly, warned farmers from Haryana, Rajasthan and who were not joining these protestors, claiming that history would not judge them kindly.

What Kind of Farm Leaders Instigate Violence?

Farmers agitating to secure their rights is perfectly legitimate. However, what has been seen for the past few months cam only qualify as instigation and the promotion of secession of a particular state by varying groups in the name of protest.

In December itself, in the name of farmer interests, train routes had been blocked in Punjab. In a rally in Ludhiana that month, it was discovered that some of the organizations had associations with Naxal/Maoist elements. These elements in the name of farmer rights have even demanded the release of Naxals involved in the Bhima Koregaon violence as well as accused in the Delhi 2020 riots case in jail for anti-India activities.

If that was not enough, we had political party leaders turned farmer union leaders provoking violence. Rakesh Tikait, who was the Congress-Rashtriya Lok Dal candidate from Amroha in 2014 Lok Sabha elections, was seen provoking farmers as the head of one of the farm unions, to be prepared to lay siege on the Red Fort in a video that has since leaked.


Despite not having the clearances, Tikait was clear in his intent. “We will take out our parade from the Red Fort, claiming that the tricolour will be hoisted by farmers at the Red Fort.” Of course, we all know what has happened since.


When Threats Were Being Issued Brazenly in the Name of Farmers

That the stakes were already high was evident when on December 26, 2020 Ravneet Singh Bittu, Congress Member of Parliament from Ludhiana, Punjab, issued a cold-blooded warning, claiming laashein bich jaayengi (there will be corpses all over).

Another farm leader, Gurnam Singh Chaduni from Haryana, was spearheading the instigation. As early as 27 November 2020, Chadhuni was clear when he told the media that the protestors had come prepared to gherao the Parliament, a clear indication of the long haul planned.

Even on 11 January 2021, Chadhuni while speaking from the dais at Singhu border was adamant about the aggressive stand of his union. He kept instigating the farmers by claiming that there was no option left but to fight. “The blood of every citizen should be boiling with anger and they should do what the farmers did with Khattar yesterday,” he thundered, while taking responsibility for the fracas that had forced the cancellation of a rally by Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on 10 January 2021. Chadhuni further went on to say “We will launch our march from here on 26 January and we will enter the parliament. Uproot them on the twenty sixth,” and warned the government not to “test our patience.”

That the stand on creating a ruckus was pre-decided could also be seen by another statement that since surfaced showing Chadhuni claiming that “On 26th we’ll play the final match. We have asked farmers to come prepared with tractors & forcefully break barricades. Let the govt open fire, lathicharge.”

Curiously, a video dated 13 January 2021 also showed farmers preparing for the tractor rally by reinforcing their tractors in ways that it could be used for both offensive action by the farmers if necessary, thus clearly showing an indication of engaging in wanton violence.

Even on 23 January 2021 one of the farm union leaders could be heard speaking from the dais threatening the Delhi Police. “This is our community’s fight. We will do our parade on the ring road, come what may. If you want peace, remove all barricades on your own,” he spoke rather aggressively to cheering crowds.

The continuous rabble rousing had its impact to the point that people among the crowds started to call for violence. On 25 January from the same stage several men could be seen screaming for violence, claiming enough leeway had been given to the government. “We will surround the whole of Delhi,” one even threatened from the stage.

After yesterday, is there now any doubt left about the intentions of some of these ‘farmer leaders’?

The Involvement of Subversive Elements and Their Sympathizers

They were perhaps not the only ones fishing in troubled waters. While Deep Sidhu has been much talked about, things were already in the works long before as against the perception being created.

As early as November 2020, we had seen Khalistani subversive elements trying to fish in troubled waters by announcing $1 million aid for farmers who suffered injuries or damage to their vehicles while facing police action in Haryana.

That the Khalistani propagandists had infiltrated deep at the site was more than evident when one saw tractors in videos emerging from the site bearing stickers and banners of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale moving about freely.

Even on 13 January 2021, it came to light that a banned Khalistani group Sikhs for Justice had announced a $250,000 reward for anyone who would hoist the Khalistani flag at India Gate, clearly instigating action in a certain direction.

During the various stages of the protests, Khalistani sympathizers had taken to the stage and clearly engaged in inflammatory speeches and singing songs that were indicative of a battle on Delhi. Famous Punjabi singer Jazzy B, who is a British citizen known for his pro-Khalistani sympathies, was present and clearly took the opportunity to express support to the ‘Sangat’.

Even other artists did not spare the occasion. While most stopped short of going to the extent, people like comedian Harby Sangha took the opportunity to berate the Indian Prime Minister’s background and praised Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan as a fine gentleman of high stature.

Not only in India, even Indian Embassy in Rome, Italy was targeted by Khalistanis. The embassy was defaced, and flags of Khalistan were raised overnight and “Khalistan Zindabad” scribbled on the walls.

Bigoted Nature of these Forces Also Came to the Fore

The other thing that was also on witness was a blatant anti-Hindu element that marked these protests. There were several crass comments that were made by former cricketer turned Punjabi actor-producer Yograj Singh that demeaned Hindus on more than one occasion – first in Haryana and then in Delhi.

Apart from calling Hindus ‘traitors who sold their daughters off’, Yograj had earlier in November 2020 called the Hindus a community as a bunch of traitors, particularly calling out ‘Gulab Singh Dogra who betrayed Maharaja Ranjit Singh.’

This is not an isolated incident. Several anti-Hindu statements could be seen being spoken at the statement. One could hear people claiming that Hindus were forcing

This was not an isolated event. Rakesh Tikait had in December 2020 at one event also insulted Brahmins, warning them to change for the better, and chided them for not supporting the protests with a single ‘bhandara’ and instead gobbling away money from the temples.

If this was not enough, one is also wont to point out painfully that a few tableaus displayed during the Republic Day parade were damaged at the Red Fort during the raid by the rioters. These tableaus were essentially the Ram Mandir replica displayed by Uttar Pradesh and the Kedarnath shrine replica that was displayed by the state of Uttarakhand, with domes damaged.

Even earlier, several prominent Punjabi artists like Ranjit Bawa and Babbu Maan were found to be addressing these rallies at various places.

Ranjit Bawa had been forced to backtrack and apologize for a song of his for making derogatory remarks on Hindu practices. Babbu Maan on the other hand had chosen to insult the great freedom fighter Lala Lajpat Rai by doubting his martyrdom. The lyrics of a song at a concert in 2010 had stated that freedom fighter Lala Lajpat Rai did not die of cane blows by British forces but instead of a heart attack later in London following a music concert.

This view is supported by extremists as well as those who seek to belittle his contribution as he was not considered Punjabi enough due to his association with Hindu Mahasabha.

Given the nature of the protest and the outlook of the protestors, is it then any surprise as to what happened on the 26th of January 2021?