Is Khalistan the reason for farmers’ march to Delhi?

New laws were passed in September, the Centre procured rice and wheat at the minimum support price (MSP), which should have scuttled the propaganda that small and marginal farmers would be shortchanged under the new farm laws.
Keywords: Farmers | Protests | MSP | Khalistan | Crop | Punjab | Procurement | Mandis | FCI | Laws | Violence | Delhi | Agriculture   
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At a time when farmers should be fully engaged in sowing the rabi crop to the exclusion of all other concerns, a large number of farmers have left their fields in Punjab and moved to Delhi, carrying abundant provisions for a prolonged stay in the capital. Some conclusions are warranted from this nonchalance.

First, affluent Punjab farmers no longer work in their fields at all, but function as absentee landlords, delegating all work to migrant labour. This delinking from farm work by landowners has caused the younger generation to move away from agriculture and farms are increasingly being given on rent by absentee owners. Incidentally, these large farmers had earlier opposed MGNREGA as they had to match wages or lose farm labour.

The Centre should investigate the extent of this absentee landlord phenomenon and decide if income from rented fields can be considered as income from agriculture and made exempt from income tax. After all, urban citizens pay tax on income from rented property. Hopefully, our Marxist intellectuals (remember, land-to-the-tiller-of-the-soil) will have no objections.

Second and far more disturbing is the possibility that the protests have been organised by long-dormant Khalistan sympathisers in concert with Canada’s New Democratic Party (NDP) that supports an unofficial referendum 2020 to separate Punjab from India. Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) can be expected to be involved, as Khalistan was the brainchild of Gen. Zia ul-Haq.

It may be mentioned that after the new laws were passed in September, the Centre procured rice and wheat at the minimum support price (MSP), which should have scuttled the propaganda that small and marginal farmers would be shortchanged under the new farm laws. Certainly, no farmer has claimed that his harvest is unsold to this day, or that he was denied remunerative prices at the time of sale. The farmers who have marched to Delhi have come after burning the rice stubble in their fields, which are now being sown by migrant labour. Above all, a farmer in Dhule district, Maharashtra, has successfully invoked the new laws to make a Madhya Pradesh trader settle his dues of over Rs. 3 lakh, expeditiously. 

Clearly, any flaws or shortcomings in the new farm laws have not manifested in this short period. However, since most procurement was done by the Food Corporation of India, it is likely that the cess collected by the State mandis (Rs. 3,642 crore in 2019) was not paid this time, which could have caused angst to the government. 

None of this explains the presence of posters of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and pro-Khalistan slogans in the so called farmer protests. Neither the organisers of the protests, nor the Punjab Government, have dissociated from these posters and slogans. A particularly despicable video that has gone viral on social media shows a middle aged man gloating over the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, and threatening to deal with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in like fashion, if their demands were not met at the meeting fixed for December 3, 2020.

It is true that the man looked too effete to carry out his threat, but the point is that he was serving as a willing mouthpiece for actors behind the scenes, and could well have been a Khalistan sympathiser (even activist) at the height of the movement in the 1980s. The idea that the Khalistan movement could have dormant sympathisers, like terrorist sleeper cells, that could be activated on command, has not adequately engaged the attention of India’s security agencies, and poses a new danger.

In their brief presence in the capital so far, there have been other videos of crowds chanting hostile slogans against the Prime Minister. Most of these gatherings featured a Punjabi film actor, Deep Sidhu, who was posing as a farmer until outed by social media. Sidhu became famous when a video surfaced of him urging the police to open the Punjab-Haryana border as the farmers’ movement was an ‘inquilab’ (revolution) that would prove to be a “defining moment” of the geopolitics of India and all South Asia.

Sidhu is pro-Khalistan. Media reports suggest that some weeks ago, lawyer Hakam Singh had objected to a youth raising pro-Khalistan slogans at a rally, and handed him over to the police personnel deployed there. Enraged, Sidhu expelled Hakam Singh from his Shambhu Morcha and uploaded a video stating, “Taking such a decision was very necessary because our quam has made scores of sacrifices for the cause of Khalistan. If anyone raises a slogan in its favour, our reaction to it cannot be so ruthless.” He added, “I would like to say again that neither armed Sikh struggle was wrong, nor a declaration of Khalistan. Raising pro-Khalistan slogans was also not wrong”.

Clearly, the dominant voices in the current farmers’ protest are signalling their arrival in the capital to forces outside our borders. Chief Minister Amarinder Singh will not like these actors to operate inside Punjab, but seems content to allow them to become the Centre’s headache. Even after 48 hours of provocation, he has maintained silence.

The Captain is a mature politician. He should know that it is he and his State that are in the crosshairs of the Khalistanis. This is not the time for games: all good men should come to the aid of the nation.

5 comments

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  • Right assessment on political and Khalistan angle to this agitation but why did govt allow them to come to Delhi…why was the group not dispersed by force.
    Why CM Haryana was not allowed to teach them a lesson I think it’s a poor show by HMO.
    Allowing anti india sentiments anywhere must be nipped in bud..be it anti CAA riots or Gupkar gang or PFI and SDPI…or normal life will be disrupted by loosing political gangs like Congress..AAP and Leftists

  • “There are Khalistani elements”, I can vouch being a Punjabi who has lived among them for 35 years before moving to the Financial Capital of India. I am student of contemporary history. Fully Agree with you, sir. Our IB must delve into this dormant cell that can be activated for NO REASON.

  • Few more days before Apex court is moved and all so called farmers are dispersed. What is made as law with majority vote cannot be deleted by back door method of false agitation. If this succeeds then many more agitations would come to annul many more laws.

  • The GOI will NOT withdraw the Farm Bills.Their thesis is that 800 million farmers will gain,and the 10-30000 farmers protesting do NOT capture the sentiments,of the 800 million.

    The GOI cannot give MSP o/s the Mandi.The GOI is bankrupt.Indian Private sector does NOT want the Mandi.If a person does NOT buy from Mandi – Y will be pay Mandi Tax or Mandi Fees ? The Private sector will buy at farm gate and store in their yards – mandi is out.

    Once the private sector quit – the mandis will have no volume and the mandis will collapse.

    Then will come in the private sector mandis at lower costs and taxes – and the govtt mandis will cease to exist.

    MSP is a meaningless concept o/s the mandi as the PRIVATE SECTOR cannot be FORCED TO BUY A QUANITY OR A QUALITY AT A FIXED PRICE.They will stop buying and import.

    Basically the GOI is bust and they have decided to wipe out the farmers.Farmers are a dead weight. The surplus rice and wheat are eaten by rats or exported at half the MSP.The GOI has decided to destroy the farmers and shift the small farmers to a labour class which will always be in
    surplus – to keep wages low.dindooohindoo

    Only large farmers and corporate farmers will stay.

    FCI will also buy from the Private sector.

    The TOP 100 FMCG companies on the NSE can meet the ENTIRE AGRI PRODUCTION of INDIA.

    So what to do with the farmers ?

    They have to be eliminated ! This day had to come !

    Either kill the farmers or the Bania,Marwari,Gujarati,Brahmin,Kayastha,Pandits.THAT IS THE ONLY CHOICE.

    INDIAN INDUSTRY THRIVES ON THE DECMIMATION OF THE INDIAN FARMERS BY KEEPING AGRI RATES LOW AND AGRI GLUTS!

    ARHATIYAS THRIVE ON THE RAPE OF THE FARMERS

    THE BANIA AND OTHER SHOPKEEPERS ALSO THRIVE ON THE LOWEST FARM GATE PRICE FOR THE FARMERS

    5 nations of Africa can feed the world with AI and Modern Agri.Farmers are obsolete

    Question is HOW TO GET RID OF THE FARMERS !

    In 2020,the Sikhs will know the worth of their So called Gurus ! If they had even a billionth of their resolve (against Aurangzeb),they would have had a separate nation and would not have been on streets !

    Farming is the path of the Essenes – it is not something that Brahmins and Banias will get – ever !

    THE NEXT TARGET OF MODI WILL BE THE BANK DEPOSITS !

    THEN LAND IN EXCESS OF A CERTAIN SIZE

    THEN GOLD AND DIAMOND POSSESSIONS OF INDIANS !

    THERE IS NO OTHER OPTION – EXCEPT A MARXIST REVOLUTION – FROM BHAGAT SINGH THE MARXIST !

    INDIA IS BASICALLY A POOR,BACKWARD,AGRARIAN NATION !

    THAT IS THE TRUTH !

  • Ma’m I was at the rally. We made Langar and fed 1000 hungry men and women everyday, including policeman. Till Sikhs are alive, no one will go hungry on the planet irrespective of their views. You are invited too mam.

Sandhya Jain

Sandhya Jain

Sandhya Jain is a political analyst, independent researcher, and author of multiple books. She is also editor of the platform Vijayvaani

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