As the farmers' agitation in the national capital entered Day 15 on Thursday, the ongoing protest against the Centre's three new farm laws also turned political with a farmer union body--Bhartiya Kisan Union (Ugrahan)--demanding the release of writers, intellectuals, rationalists mainly arrested in Elgar Parishad and Delhi Riots case.
According to TOI, BKU Ekta Ugrahan were observing human rights day at Tikri border on Thursday. They demanded the release of writers, intellectuals, rationalists mainly arrested in Elgar Parishad case such as Gautam Navlakha, Sudha Bhardwaj, Varvara Rao, Anand Teltumbde and many others.
The protesting farmers were also seen holding posters in support of Delhi riots accused Umar Khalid, Sharjeel Imam, Khalid Saifi and many others. The protesting farmers were seen expressing solidarity with those arrested under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and demanded their release.
BKU's senior vice-president Jhanda Singh Jethuke had earlier told the Indian Express that they will celebrate the International Human Rights Day and raise their voices for the release of intellectuals and human rights activists. "Modi government is running a fascist agenda. On one hand, it is promoting Adani and Ambani and on the other hand, it is pushing intellectuals and activities into jail. Around two dozen activists have been booked under UAPA for Bhima Koregaon and instigating Delhi riots," he added.
Lawyer and coordinator of the BKU N K Jeet said the release of these activists has been part of their demands from the very first day. "Government has said that the farm agitation is provoked by urban naxals, Congress and Khalistanis. Urban Naxal is an excuse to prosecute people. In Punjab, people are sandwiched between state terrorism and terrorists…Naxalism has helped tribal people claim their rights,” he said.
Meanwhile, Twitter users were bewildered after these posters were seen at the farmers' protest. "Wait, What???? Why are "Farmers" demanding the release of arrested Delhi riots accused Umar Khalid-Khalid Saifi & gang??? What has this got to do with #FarmBills2020?? Can someone explain what exactly is going on??" BJP Mahila Morcha's National Incharge of Social Media Priti Gandhi tweeted.
"Since when have Umar Khalid and Sharjeel Imam become farmers. We will engage with the farmers but Umar & Sharjeel represent anti-India mindset. Jail is the right place for people like them," said SC advocate and BJP spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia.
Here are a few Twitter reactions: