After the desecration of Red Fort and the violence, rioting and assault on police in the capital on Republic Day, the farmers’ protest has given up all pretence of its being apolitical. Opposition politicians are now openly addressing the protesters at the sites of the siege on the Delhi border, encouraging them not to call off the stir until their demand for the repeal of the farm laws was accepted.
In a way, the lifting of the veil of political neutrality would make it easier for the government to handle the protest. For one, the R-Day events also amply prove that it was essentially a Punjab affair, with a token presence of farmers from Haryana and western UP, instigated by the Congress leaders in these two States. Whatever little doubt there was of it being anything but a Punjab-centric protest was removed when the Sikh NRIs in New York took out a parade of cars bearing Khalistani flags to support the protesting farmers.
Had it been a nationwide farmers’ protest, NRIs from other regions too would have joined the New York parade but without shouting pro-Khalistani slogans. Even the vandalism at our embassy in Rome and a raucous protest at the Indian consulate in New York on Republic Day was an all-Sikh and pro-Khalistani affair. If the Opposition still insists on backing the siege, one can only lament its propensity to put partisan politics ahead of the wider national interest.