Haryana police was on Saturday questioning a man after agitating farmer leaders alleged that he was involved in a conspiracy to kill four of them and create disturbance during their proposed tractor parade in Delhi on January 26. The man was allegedly nabbed at the Singhu border by the protesting farmer leaders who paraded him before reporters on Friday night and later handed him over to the police.
His face covered with a scarf, the man claimed that a plan was hatched to shoot four farmer leaders, who are known faces in the media, on the stage on Saturday. “On January 26, there was a plan to create disturbance during the tractor parade by opening fire on Delhi Police personnel, which would prompt them to retaliate against the protesting farmers in a strong manner,” he claimed.
A police official said the man, stated to be around 21 years of age, was being quizzed in Sonipat by the Crime Branch of the state police. The man has been residing in Sonipat and has no previous criminal record. “He was not carrying any arms or ammunition. We are questioning him, but nothing has so far been found that points to any kind of conspiracy, as is being alleged,” the official said earlier in the day, adding that further investigations are underway.
When asked about the matter, Chief Minister M L Khattar said the police will give an official statement after completing the questioning. Currently, the police is questioning him. Till the time this is going on, to say anything will not be appropriate, he told reporters on Saturday on the sidelines of an event, At the Singhu border press conference late on Friday night, the farmer leaders presented the man who claimed that his accomplices were asked to pose as policemen and baton-charge the crowd during the proposed tractor parade in the national capital on Republic Day.
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The farmer leaders claimed that they caught the man from the protest site at the Singhu border. He was subsequently handed over to the Haryana police. Farmer leader Kulwant Singh Sandhu alleged that attempts are being made to disrupt the ongoing agitation against three farm laws. Thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, have been camping at several border points of Delhi since November 28 last year, demanding a repeal of the three farm laws and a legal guarantee to the minimum support price (MSP) for their crops.
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.