It is false propaganda; laws benefit small farmers: Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Lucknow

Accusing the opposition of "false propaganda" against the new agri-marketing legislation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday claimed those who had made laws for bringing in foreign firms are now creating a scare among farmers over local companies.

Laying the foundation stone for a statue of warrior-king Suheldev in Uttar Pradesh’s Bahraich, Modi said his government is trying to rectify the "mistakes" of the earlier regimes that had failed to honour deserving leaders. Addressing the event through video conference, the PM defended the new farm laws, saying the reforms will benefit the small and marginal farmers.

Farmers themselves have begun exposing those involved in "false propaganda" about them, he said.

The PM said farmers in UP have been getting encouraging results after the enactment of the new laws. "The entire country has seen that those who made laws for bringing in foreign companies in the farm sector are now scaring farmers in the name of local companies," he said, without elaborating.

The BJP has in the past claimed other parties too had advocated similar farm reforms in the past, but failed to implement them. "Those who spoke lies and carried out false propaganda for politics are now being exposed," he said.

He unveiled beautification projects in Shravasti and Bahraich, honouring the 11th century king who is an icon of the state's Rajbhar community.

"Though Maharaja Suhel­dev's bravery has not found place in history books, he has always been in the hearts of people through the folklore of Awadh, Terai and Purvanchal," he said. Modi hailed his image as a "development-ori­ented" and "sensitive" ruler.

In his 30-minute speech, the PM accused the previous governments of not honouring leaders like Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and BR Ambedkar.

The projects launched in Bahraich include the construction of a 4.20-metre high statue of Suheldev, who is said to have killed Ghaznavid general Ghazi Saiyyad Salar Masud in a battle on the banks of the Chittora lake in Bahraich in 1033. Also planned is the development of tourist amenities including a cafeteria, a guesthouse and a children's park there.

Farmers’ protest: Sedition law can’t be invoked to quieten disquiet: Delhi court

New Delhi

A Delhi court has said the law of sedition cannot be invoked to quieten the disquiet under the pretence of muzzling miscreants. Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana made the observation while granting bail to two persons — Devi Lal Burdak and Swaroop Ram — arrested by Delhi Police earlier this month for allegedly committing sedition and spreading rumours by posting fake video on Facebook during ongoing farmers' protest.

The court said the law of sedition was a powerful tool in the hands of the state to maintain peace and order in the society. "However, it cannot be invoked to quieten the disquiet under the pretence of muzzling the miscreants. Evidently, law proscribes any act which has a tendency to create disorder or disturba­nce of public peace by resort to violence," the judge said in an order passed on Feb 15.

Meanwhile, a court on Tuesday extended by 7 days the police custody of actor-activist Deep Sidhu in the Red Fort violence on R-Day.

Sidhu was produced before Metropolitan Magistrate Bhujali after expiry of his police custody in the case.

Police sought extension of his custodial interrogation, saying it was required for further investigation and to identify other accused persons in the case.

The court had on February 9 sent Sidhu to police custody for seven days after the police alleged he was one of the main instigators of the violent incidents at the Red Fort.

The police had said there are videos where Sidhu can be allegedly seen at the site of the incident.

"He was instigating the crowd. He was also one of the main rioters. Several social media accounts need to be searched to identify the co-conspirators. Also his permanent address is given as Nagpur but several places need to be visited in Punjab and Haryana to unearth further details," the police had alleged.

"He can be seen coming out with the person who hoisted the flag and congratulating him. He came out and gave speeches in loud hailers and provoked the crowd there. He was the main instigator. He instigated the crowd due to which violence occurred. Several policemen were injured in the violence," the police alleged.

Sidhu's counsel, however, claimed he had nothing to do with the violence and was at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Sidhu has been arrested for several offences under the Indian Penal Code including rioting (147 and 148), unlawful assembly (149), attempt to murder (120-B), criminal conspiracy (120-B), assaulting or obstructing public servant (152), dacoity (395), culpable homicide (308) and disobedience to order promulgated by public servant (188).

He has also been arrested under sections of the Arms Act, Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act and the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act.

The police had announced a cash reward of Rs 1 lakh for information leading to Sidhu's arrest.

Tens of thousands of protesting farmers clashed with the police in the national capital on January 26 during a tractor parade to to highlight their demands.

Many of them driving tractors reached the Red Fort and entered the monument, where a religious flag was also hoisted. Over 500 police personnel were injured and one protestor died.  In the FIR registered in connection with the Red Fort violence, police alleged two magazines with 20 live cartridges were snatched from two constables by protestors who also damaged vehicles and robbed anti-riot gear. PTI URD

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