Pushed on the back-foot by violence, chinks among the agitating farmers came to the fore on Wednesday as two farmers' organisations withdrew from the two-month-old agitation against the agricultural reforms.
The Sanyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), spearheading the agitation on Delhi's borders, accused Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee of “hatching a dirty conspiracy” to torpedo the peaceful protests against the farm laws.
The farmers' unions also called off the proposed march to Parliament on February 1.
“Our agitation will continue. We will observe a hunger strike on January 30,” Darshan Pal, SKM leader, told reporters in a late evening press conference.
Delhi Police also swung into action and registered 21 FIRs in different police stations in connection with the violence and detained more than 200 persons for questioning. Thirty-seven farmer leaders, including Yogendra Yadav, Gurnam Singh Chaduni, Darshan Pal, Medha Patkar, V M Singh, Rakesh Tikait, were named in an FIR under various sections of IPC for rioting, attempt to murder, criminal conspiracy, besides damage to public property.
“No one will be spared. Strict action will be taken against those found involved. We will also question the farmers' organisations,” Delhi Police Commissioner S N Shrivastava told reporters.
Shrivastava said the violence took place on Tuesday as the farmer leaders did not follow the terms and conditions agreed upon for the tractor rally. He said 394 police personnel were injured in the violence.
Two farmers' unions – Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangathan (RKMS) and Bhartiya Kisan Union (Bhanu), considered “pro-government” by a section of the protestors, announced withdrawal from the farmers' agitation.
The RKMS, led by V M Singh, had a sizeable presence at the Ghazipur border point, while the BKU(Bhanu), led by Bhanu Pratap Singh was part of the protests at the Chilla border point. The two unions were not part of the discussions with the government.
After an emergency meeting, the SKM blamed the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee (KMSC), led by S S Pandher, of hatching a conspiracy with “anti-social elements such as Deep Sidhu” as the Centre had shaken by the peaceful agitation against the farm laws.
“When the farmer organisations declared a programme of Kisan Parade on 26 January, antisocial elements like Deep Sidhu and others, along with the said farmer organisation attempted to torpedo the farmers’ agitation,” the SKM, representing 41 organisations, said.
The agitating farmers said that the KMSC was not part of the organisations that had jointly taken up the agitation and had set up their own protest site within 15 days of the agitation.
“Under this conspiracy, the said Kisan organisation (KMSC) and other persons announced that they would march on Ring Road and unfurl a flag on the Red Fort. As a corollary of conspiracy, the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee started marching on the Ring Road, two hours before the scheduled march of the struggling organisations. It was a deep-rooted conspiracy to knock down the peaceful and strong farmers' struggle,” the SKM statement said.