Several BJP leaders who went to a Haryana temple to witness Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s live transmission from Kedarnath shrine were besieged by farmers who have been protesting three unpopular agricultural rules for nearly a year.
The demonstrators singled out BJP leader and former minister Manish Grover, accusing him of using derogatory words against farmers. The BJP leaders and other members of the party were trapped in the temple for about eight hours while the protesters demanded that the former minister apologise.
According to the farmers, Mr Grover eventually apologised to the farmers on camera with folded hands, following which the men imprisoned in the temple were permitted to leave.
More police officers from neighbouring districts were called in to help contain the scene at the temple in Kiloi village, Rohtak district, around 78 kilometres from Gurgaon. Two demonstrators were detained. For a brief period, the Delhi-Hisar National Highway was closed to traffic.
Party organisation minister Ravindra Raju, Mayor Manmohan Goyal, BJP district president Ajay Bansal, and party leader Satish Nandal were among the other leaders held prisoner within the shrine.
The farmers had requested that the mob round the temple on all sides. According to sources, police officers from Sonipat and Jhajjar had also arrived in the area, and they had been instructed to be prepared to deal with any crisis.
Mr Grover denied making any kind of apology to the demonstrators. “Some members of a khap approached us and requested that I go to the balcony and wave to everyone… Nobody has received an apology from us. I shall visit this temple whenever I wish, “Mr Grover expressed his thoughts.
Farmers from Haryana and Punjab, in particular, have been protesting the agricultural regulations, claiming that they will hand over control of agriculture to commercial interests. The government has refuted the charge and even promised to change the legislation.
Since the BJP is also in power at the centre, which passed the new laws, BJP politicians who have been in and around locations where large groups of protesting farmers have gathered have become targets.
When BJP Rajya Sabha member Ram Chander Jangra came to inaugurate a dharmshala in Haryana’s Hisar district today, he was met with chants and black flags by a group of farmers (inn). During a struggle between cops and farmers, his car’s glass was damaged.
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