Multiple media reports on Sunday (January 24) indicated that Ravneet Singh Bittu, Congress MP from Punjab's Ludhiana, was allegedly heckled by farmers protesting the three contentious farm laws at the Singhu border in Delhi.
Bittu was accompanied by Punjab MLA Kulbir Singh Zira. Eyewitnesses at the site have also said that the turbans of the politicians were dragged off during the attack; however, there is no official confirmation yet on this.
Sources said that initially a few unidentified youth had prevented the Congress MP from entering the agitation site, saying, "Farmers do not need politicians." However, Bittu ignored them and went ahead, while the youngsters kept shouting "Go back!" slogans, the sources added.
While talking to the media, Bittu himself said that he was "ambushed" upon arriving at the protest.
"We had gone to participate in a meeting called by farmer leaders. Upon reaching we were ambushed, as if by guerilla warriors who were armed with sticks and other weapons. We're not going to take any action now as the farmers' movements are still going on," the Congress MP said.
He added, "I've been saying this for a while. There are miscreant elements and people carrying Khalistani flags at the protests. But what can farmer leaders do to verify those identities in such a huge crowd. Rs 80 lakhs - 1 crore are being given to such elements for waving the flags and I am a target anyway."
Since November last year, farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, have been protesting against the Centre's three new agriculture laws at several Delhi border points, including Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur, demanding that the legislations be repealed.
Enacted in September last year, the three laws have been projected by the Centre as major reforms in the agriculture sector that will remove middlemen and allow farmers to sell their produce anywhere in the country.
However, the protesting farmers have expressed their apprehension that the new laws would pave the way for eliminating the safety cushion of MSP and do away with the 'mandi' (wholesale market) system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporates.
Multiple rounds of talks between the government and farmer unions have failed to break the impasse so far, while the Supreme Court has appointed a panel for resolution of the issue.
(With inputs from agencies)