NEW DELHI: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday met Home Minister Amit Shah and urged him to repeal the three farm laws, citing social, economic and security implications of a prolonged farmers' agitation.
He also sought 25 companies of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) and anti-drone gadgets for the Border Security Force (BSF) for protection from Pakistan-backed terror forces as Punjab is a border state and cited possible targeting of Hindu temples, prominent farmer leaders, RSS offices, RSS-BJP leaders among others, according to a statement by his office.
The chief minister said during the meeting that the farm laws have caused great resentment amongst farmers from Punjab and other states and they must be repealed.
He expressed concern over the fear of inimical powers from across the border trying to exploit the resentment and disgruntlement against the government and sought an expeditious solution to the farmers' concerns.
The chief minister said protests have been going on in Punjab ever since the central government issued the ordinances in June 2020.
While these protests have so far been largely peaceful, one can sense rising tempers, especially as the state moves towards elections in early 2022, the chief minister said.
The prolonged agitation is not only impacting economic activities in Punjab but also has the potential to affect its social fabric, especially when political parties and groups take strong positions, he added.
The chief minister told Shah that the security situation was grave and needed the Centre's immediate intervention, as he cited the recent heavy influx of weapons, hand-grenades and IEDs into the state, with Pakistan's ISI also raising the ante ahead of the Independence Day and in the run-up to the Punjab Assembly polls.
Singh asked the Union Home Minister for CAPF deployment in Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Mohali, Patiala, Bathinda, Phagwara and Moga, as well as anti-drone technology for the BSF deployed at the borders.
He pointed to the "potent threat" to the security of vital infrastructure/installations and public meetings/events being attended by "highly threatened" individuals, an official statement from Punjab government said.
Referring to inputs from central and state agencies, corroborated by disclosures made by arrested terrorists, Amarinder Singh said potential individual and mass indiscriminate targets include trains, buses and Hindu temples, prominent farmer leaders, RSS Shakhas/Offices, RSS/BJP/Shiv Sena leaders based in Punjab, Deras, Nirankari Bhawans and Samagams.
He cited specific inputs about five farmer leaders and that they had refused to take security offered by Punjab and Haryana police.
The chief minister apprised Shah about the recent efforts by Pakistan's ISI and the country's establishment to push large quantities of weapons, hand-grenades, RDX explosive, detonators, timer devices, sophisticated laboratory made tiffin bombs into Punjab for carrying out terrorist acts.
With the Punjab Assembly elections scheduled for February-March 2022, many militant and radical operatives are being pressured by the ISI to carry out terrorist actions.
These are very serious and worrisome developments having huge security implications for the border state and its people, the CM warned.
Amarinder Singh also flagged the urgent need to compensate farmers for the management of paddy straw at Rs 100 per quintal and to address the growing fear of shortage of DAP (Diammonium phosphate), which would further aggravate the problems of farmers.
He urged Shah to immediately advise the officials of the fertilizers department for enhanced allocation of DAP stocks to Punjab as per the revised demand by the state and to further direct the suppliers to ensure that adequate stocks are given as per schedule.