For 20 days now, hundreds of farmers have been camped in and around the national capital, protesting against three recently passed Farm Acts. Six rounds of talks with Union Ministers have failed to yield concrete results, and farmers have announced their intention to amp up the protests.
While the Centre and its representatives continue to call for talks and insist that the new laws will prove beneficial for farmers, Opposition leaders, many farm groups and other organisations do not seem to agree. As the protests continue, it has also become a talking point for Opposition leaders to take a jibe at the Modi-led government.
Taking to Twitter on Tuesday morning, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi hit out at the Central government alleging that for the Modi government, "crony capitalists" were good friends.
"For Modi govt: Dissenting students are anti-nationals. Concerned citizens are urban naxals. Migrant labourers are COVID-19 carriers. Rape victims are nobody. Protesting farmers are Khalistani," Gandhi alleged.
In recent days, there have been repeated allegations that those taking part in the farmer protests around Delhi are also proponents of the Khalistani movement. While several farmer representatives have spoken out in an attempt to distance themselves from the movement, the murmurs refuse to die down.
The situation has also been amplified by visuals alleging that those participating in the farmer protests are raising slogans and placards in support of Khalistan. A video claiming that people were raising pro-Pakistan and pro-Khalistan slogans in London as they supported the farmers' protest for example have been debunked as being fake news.
Officials however say that there are indeed some who wish to hijack the farmers' protests for their own purposes. Addressing a press conference on November 28, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar had spoken about how some "unwanted elements" like Khalistan sympathizers have been seen among the farmers protesting against the Central farm laws.
"We have inputs of some such unwanted elements in crowd. We have reports, will disclose once it is concrete."
"They made some objectionable statements against former prime minister Indira Gandhi and serving Prime Minister Narendra Modi," he added.
(With inputs from agencies)