by BA and Venkatesh Sundaram
Photo: Farmers gathered at Singhu border
On October 15, 2021, the body of a person which had also been mutilated was found near the Singhu border, one of the focal points of the Farmers’ struggle that has been going on for over a year now. The body was identified as that of Mr. Lakhbir Singh and it has been alleged that he had been murdered by certain Nihangs for having desecrated their holy book. There are also many reports about his having been a Dalit Sikh and whether or not his body would have been allowed to return to his native village for cremation. It also emerges that he had been estranged from his family members and there is enough evidence to suggest that he may have been severely mentally ill. What is certain is that this unfortunate person was somehow used by many different parties with the aim of discrediting the farmers’ struggle.
In particular, the entire story reeks of the time tested policy of `divide and rule’. The use of such rumours as `desecration’ of a holy book, and the attempts to blame members of one particular community for what is a blatantly criminal act, clearly point in this direction. It goes without saying that if there is a loss of a human life or any kind of injury, there must be a proper enquiry by law enforcing agencies and the accused brought to book, and prosecution must provide evidence so that there is due process, and a person is actually proved to be thus guilty beyond reasonable doubt and sentenced to an appropriate punishment. In the present situation, the media as well as other parties have resorted to innuendo and gossip and slander to both cast aspersions on the conduct of a person who is no more, and also to accuse entire communities of participating in criminal activities with barely supportable evidence.
Thus, it may be fair to conclude that this incident is a provocation designed to slander members of the mass movement against the unjust Farm Laws to somehow claim that only this or that section of the farmers is against the Farm Laws, or those who come from a particular state or those of a particular community. Furthermore, over the year the opposition to the laws have gathered strength and the protesting farmers have convinced all those who care to listen about the unjustness of the Agricultural Laws enacted by the Central Government over a year ago.
In light of all the above, it may be concluded that the events surrounding October 15 are no more than a blatant pre-staged provocation, or at best an attempt to portray an isolated criminal act as a communal act on the part of an identifiable community. India is a country with diverse communities that have come down over the centuries. What binds them in their diversity is their common human needs from nature as well as society and they have a right to fight for these in an organised, peaceful, and democratic manner.
It is the Central Government and its agencies that are determined to break the resolve of the fighting farmers through such undemocratic methods as blockading, preventing tractors from moving around, erecting barricades around the national capital and so on. Part of their arsenal is to inflame tensions and also to create provocation to weaken the struggle. All democratically minded persons should oppose these dastardly activities and support the just agitation of the Farmers. Events such as the unfortunate death of Mr. Lakhbir Singh should be investigated and be treated as any other murder would be under less charged circumstances.