Muzaffarnagar clash planned, says Balyan; RLD chief seeks police action

According to police, at least three people were injured in Monday's clash during Balyan's visit.

A day after supporters of BJP and RLD clashed in Muzaffarnagar’s Sohram village, Union minister Sanjeev Balyan on Tuesday alleged that it was planned by leaders of the opposition party and that they were instigated by an announcement made through a mosque, even as RLD chief Ajit Singh, during a visit to the area, told local residents that police are “here for the public, and not personally for a minister”.

According to police, at least three people were injured in Monday’s clash during Balyan’s visit.

Balyan, the local MP, told PTI that he has urged local authorities to probe the clash. “Those involved in the clash were not farmers but office-bearers of RLD,” he said. “It was a planned clash, otherwise how can you explain videos of the incident going out on social media instantly, or tweet coming from an RLD leader instantly?”

He also said, “I had gone to Soram to attend the mourning of a local and it was a moment of grief but RLD office-bearers stared raising slogans and they were instigated by an announcement made from a local mosque. The entire incident was planned.”

Visiting the village to meet those injured, the RLD chief said, “Locks of houses were broken. People were assaulted. The police must take action…. The government is trying to divide you. They think that the farmer doesn’t understand. But the truth is they don’t understand farmers…”

He also said, “They (authorities) say you can go to court in case of issues. (But) can a 5-acre farmer go to court (against big industrialists)? How will he pay the lawyer? In contract farming, the government must ensure right prices. The government tells you that your land will not go anywhere, but that’s misleading.”

Singh alleged that the debt in terms of crop dues increased exponentially under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s tenure. He also said sugarcane farmers in the region have been deprived of their dues and that MSP needs to be guaranteed legally.

The RLD leader left it on local residents to decide whether a panchayat needs to be held. For the past three weeks, RLD has organised at least five panchayats on the ongoing farmer protest across western UP.

Western Uttar Pradesh has seen many farmers’ “mahapanchayats” amid the protest against the Centre’s three farm laws. In the wake of these “mahapanchayts” in western UP and Haryana, the BJP’s top brass had recently held a meeting with leaders from the two regions and asked them to reach out to the people in their constituencies to counter the narrative against the three farm laws.

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