LUCKNOW: Continuing his efforts to pacify the agitating farmers, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said his government was committed to their empowerment and self-reliance. He was inaugurating the centenary celebrations of the Chauri Chaura incident in UP, where violence shook the British Raj during the freedom struggle.
Releasing a postal stamp to mark the occasion, the PM said that over 1,000 mandis were being connected with the online agriculture trading platform e-NAM.
“The mandis will be turned into markets of profit for farmers to sell their produce with ease,” he said. Modi listed several measures taken by the Centre towards making farmers self-dependent in the last six years. He said even during the Covid pandemic, the country’s food grain production has soared.
He called upon people to unite in the spirit of freedom struggle to make the growth missions, including Atmanirbhar Bharat Mission, a success. The PM said the Centre was making all efforts to help farmers become atmanirbhar (self-reliant) and had allocated Rs 40,000 crore for the development of rural infrastructure in the Budget.
“Farmers will directly benefit from investment in the infrastructure sector. Agriculture will turn into a profitable venture for farmers,” he asserted.
On the Chauri Chaura incident, the PM said the efforts of the UP government had resulted in changing the scenario in the Gorakhpur region.
“Earlier, factories were closed, roads were damaged and hospitals shut. Now, a fertilizer factory has come up, which will benefit farmers and generate jobs.” The Chauri Chaura incident is significant in India’s Independence movement.
On February 4, 1922, supporters of the Non-Cooperation Movement clashed with the colonial police, which opened fire. In retaliation, the demonstrators torched the Chauri Chaura police post in Gorakhpur in which 23 personnel were burnt alive. Elaborating on the Budget, the PM said experts were earlier apprehensive about the possible introduction of new taxs owing to the pandemic and the subsequent economic crisis.
“Experts were thinking that the Budget would burden the common man with new taxes. But the Centre ensured that the people are not saddled with additional burden,” Modi said.
It’s now a ledger account
“The Budget this time has virtually turned into an account book (bahi-khata) of income & expenditure,” Modi said.
Ruckus continues in Lok Sabha, bill introduced
Lok Sabha proceedings were disrupted for the third consecutive day on Thursday due to protests by the Opposition over the new farms laws. Amid the din and adjournments, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad introduced a bill to amend the arbitration law and Union minister Nitin Gadkari replied to a few questions during Question Hour. In the Rajya Sabha, the Opposition launched a vociferous attack on the Centre’s handling of the farmers’ agitation.
FIR against protest toolkit
The Delhi Police lodged a first information report against unnamed authors of a toolkit that offered suggestions on rustling up international support for the ongoing farmers protests. The toolkit has been doing the rounds on social media and was tweeted by, among others, Swedish teen climate change activist Greta Thunberg. She then deleted and later reposted an updated version of the toolkit. Praveer Ranjan, Special Commissioner of Police said, “We haven’t named anybody in the FIR, it’s only against the creators of toolkit which is a matter of investigation.”
Preliminary enquiry has revealed that the toolkit was created by the Poetic Justice Foundation, a pro-Khalistani outfit. However, legal experts were appalled by the FIR. Senior advocate K V Dhananjay said, “Everybody in the world is competent to tweet about human rights abuse anywhere in the world. It is shameful that the Delhi Police is making our police force, judiciary and the legal profession become a laughing stock the world over.”