BC Patil was speaking to the media after the flag unfurling ceremony at the Republic Day function in Koppal.
Karnataka Agriculture Minister BC Patil on Tuesday said those who stormed the Red Fort in the national capital on Republic Day were “terrorists,” not farmers. After unfurling the tricolour at the Republic Day function in the Koppal district headquarters, he told reporters that the farmers who stormed the monument cannot be called farmers, but “terrorists” backed by Congress and Pakistan.
“The siege does not seem to be started by farmers. This act was committed by the terrorists and other fear-mongering elements. Terrorists and Khalistanis with the Congress party recruits are the ones, who in the name of farmers, have been stirring a debate,” said Patil. He also said the protestors should be detained.
The protests by farmers in New Delhi turned violent after thousands of farmers breached barricades at the borders and deviated from the agreed routes between them and the police for their tractor rally. The farmers entered areas in Central Delhi, including Red Fort and ITO, and a Sikh flag was hoisted onto one of the poles inside Red Fort.
A protester had also died near the ITO intersection during the tractor rally after his tractor overturned, according to police. The incident took place near the Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg where a toppled tractor was also seen and it was also reported that the farmer was on the tractor when he met with the accident. Chaotic scenes were also reported in the area where hundreds of protesters were reportedly chasing police personnel with sticks and ramming their tractors into the buses parked by the police. Visuals from many places also showed some police personnel lathicharging the protesters and lobbing tear gas shells. Later, internet was suspended in New Delhi and its neighbourhood after the clashes
Patil is not new to controversial statements. In December 2020, he kicked off a row while participating in an event where he said that farmers who die by suicide are cowards. Last week, while participating in another event, he reiterated his statement and said that farmers with weak minds end their lives. On both occasions, farmer leaders had sought a public apology from Patil for making such statements.
The minister stated that the Indian Tricolour and the Red Fort have special constitutional sanctity and any insult to them is a disgrace to the country’s democracy, especially on Republic Day. He asserted that the act is condemnable and the guilty must be duly punished.
Justifying his accusations, Patil, who served as a police officer before trying his hand at Kannada films and then joining politics, claimed, “Indian Farmers, in the history of the country, have never taken the law into their hands or attacked the police. The real farmers are not objecting to the three farm laws assented by the Union Government. Congress men have publicly issued statements that they provided the farmers with diesel and will provide their complete support. It is they who have instigated the violence,” he alleged
“The Army is in danger. If the Congress and the anti-social elements continue to support such terrorists, they may attack vital installations in the country,” he claimed.
Patil claimed that the Congress had become desperate without the “good governance” of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and as a result had been supporting the protestors.