More than 24 hours after the security breach in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's convoy near Ferozepur in Punjab on account of farmers protest, the Samyukt Kisan Morcha on Thursday claimed that "there was no programme to stop the Prime Minister's visit or obstruct his programme" and that the "farmers had no prior information" about the PMs convoy.
On Wednesday, The Prime Minister's rally in Ferozepur had to be cancelled due to a security lapse after some protesters blocked a route and forced his convoy to spend about 20 minutes on a flyover. The Prime Minister was enroute the National Martyrs Memorial at Hussainiwala when the incident happened.
The Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) on Thursday claimed in a statement that they had planned protests on receiving the news of Prime Minister's proposed visit to Punjab on January 5.
"A total of 10 farmers' organisations affiliated to SKM had announced a symbolic protest demanding the arrest of (Union Minister of State for Home) Ajay Mishra Teni and other outstanding demands.
"For this purpose, programmes of protests and effigy burning were announced at the village level across Punjab on January 2 and at the district and tehsil headquarters on January 5. There was no programme to stop the Prime Minister's visit or obstruct his programme," claimed the SKM statement.
Even after the three contentious farm laws were repealed by the Parliament after more than a year-long protest by the SKM, the farmers are still protesting, especially in Punjab, for their unmet demands, which include the removal of Ajay Mishra (in connection with last year's Lakhimpur Kheri violence), compensation to the families of those martyred during the farmers' agitation, and most importantly, Minimum Support Price for all agricultural produce, for which the government has promised a committee with farmers' representatives on board.
The farmers' consortium further said that as per the pre-determined schedule, peaceful protests were held at every district and tehsil headquarters in Punjab on January 5.
"When some farmers were stopped by the police administration from going to the district headquarters of Ferozepur, they protested by sitting on the road at many places. Of these places, one was the flyover of Pyarayana where the Prime Minister's convoy came, stopped and went back," the statement said.
"The farmers protesting there had no concrete information that the Prime Minister's convoy was going to pass through. They got this information from the media after the Prime Minister's return," the SKM claimed.
Stating that it is clear from the video of the occasion that the protesting farmers did not even make any effort to go towards the Prime Minister's convoy, the SKM said, "Only a group with BJP flag and raising slogans such as 'Narendra Modi Zindabad' had reached near the convoy. Therefore, the threat to the life of the Prime Minister seems completely concocted."
The farmers further alleged that "to cover up the failure of his rally, the Prime Minister tried to malign both the state of Punjab and the farmers' movement by using the pretext of 'somehow his life was saved'."
"The whole country knows that if there is a threat to life, then it is for the farmers, from criminals like Ajay Mishra becoming minister and roaming freely. The Samyukt Kisan Morcha expects the Prime Minister of the country to not make such irresponsible statements keeping in mind the dignity of his post," the SKM said.