Condemning Friday's violence by "some miscreants" at Singhu border, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh urged the Centre to conduct a thorough probe to identify the "so-called locals" who had purportedly broken through tight security cordons to attack farmers and their property.
“Were they really locals?,” asked the chief minister, seeking a proper investigation to identify the "trouble-makers" and ascertain where they came from.
“I can't believe that the local people could have turned against the farmers like this. Miscreants might have been brought from other places by vested interests to foment trouble,” he said, adding that locals calling the farmers "traitors" was not something he could believe to be true.
Calling for an "immediate end to the vilification campaign launched against farmers" in the wake of the Red Fort violence, the chief minister warned that maligning the farmers in this manner could cause the morale of the armed forces, 20 per cent of which is from Punjab, to go down.
Spreading false information against the farmers can create divisions, which can cause problems for Punjab, he further warned, as per an official statement here.
“What is happening and what happened at Singhu today is what Pakistan wants,” said Singh, pointing out that he had been warning for a long time that Pakistan will try to exploit the unrest over the farm laws to disturb Punjab's peace.
That was what I had discussed with the Union Home Minister Amit Shah during our meeting due to which a lot of noise was raised, he said, adding that he had told Shah that drones were coming from Pakistan with weapons, drugs etc. and while many had been caught in Punjab, some would have passed through.
Central agencies should investigate into possible Pakistan role in the recent disturbances and violence during the farmers' agitation, he said.
The chief minister advised the farmers as well the central government to continue engaging in dialogue to resolve the problem.
“I could have resolved the issue by now,” he said, adding that the resolution of the issue needed both sides to talk as friends and not enemies.
"There needs to be a genuine settlement," he added.
Pointing out that Punjab had seen bad times during its terrorism days, Singh said any further disturbance would not be desirable.
He also hit out at those calling the farmers names and said that people have different ideologies but you can't brand them Leftists, Maoists, Naxals and Khalistanis in this manner.
Reacting to allegations that he was behind the farmers' agitation, Singh said: "The tragic part is BJP indulging in all this without trying to understand why farmers are angry, why they don't want the laws.”
“We have small farmers and removal of MSP or ending the Arhtiya system will hit them hard,” he said, adding that the central government does not understand the psyche of the farmers of Punjab.
However, he made it clear that while Punjab's farmers might have led the agitation initially, the movement had now spread across the country.
Asserting that his sympathies, and those of his government and party were with the farmers, which is why they had passed their own bills in the state, Singh said every farmer in the country has his/her heart at the borers of Delhi.