H OLLOWNESS and sham in the long protests, carried out by the farmers from Punjab and adjoining areas on the borders of New Delhi against the three farm laws, were brutally exposed in one stroke of madness by the agitators on the Republic Day. Their plot unraveled in the most hideous manner when the farmer leaders lost control over the protesters, raising a grave risk of mob rule in the National Capital. The scenes of violence and lawlessness witnessed on January 26 will remain a dark smudge on the country’s pride. Each of those vandals, leaders of the agitating unions and the so-called social reformers must face stringent punitive action for their act.

The Centre must not shy away anymore from implementing the three progressive farm laws. By losing control over the rioters who were masquerading as farmers on the streets of the Capital, the protesting farmers have lost their cause as well. On a day when the world was watching the country’s military and cultural might, a dance of nihilism was on display on the other side of New Delhi, clearly hatched to malign the image of a rising India. It was a despicable sight to see rioters climbing the historic Red Fort with dangerous temerity, hoisting a religious flag with utter disregard to the Tricolour and leaving a trail of destruction behind.

Now indulge in a blame game for the damages caused by the rioters, the farm unions cannot run away from their responsibility. Their claim that they had no control over the miscreants cannot serve as an alibi for their exoneration. By planning a tractor rally on a day of great importance for the country the farm unions had already risked national security. They lost it totally by displaying poor political leadership of a public movement. The farmers groups reneged on each of their promises while unleashing vandalism in the National Capital. They deviated from the agreed routes, did not adhere to the stipulated time, used their tractors to ram through barricades, tried to trample policemen on the streets, brandished swords and rods, and attacked cops and media personnel. The siege of the Red Fort was consummation of the mobocratic orgy.

It was clear from their acts that the mob was out to disrupt the Republic Day celebrations and cause international embarrassment to the Government of India. Presence of anti-national elements and Khalistan supporters was confirmed by CCTV footages and videos available in the media. The Sikh For Justice (SFJ) had clearly infiltrated the protests confirming the apprehensions raised by Intelligence agencies.Yet, the adamant unions and even the judiciary refused to acknowledge the gravity of the threat perception. It would not be an exaggeration to state that India has barely managed to wriggle out of a sinister plot.

Even as it considers boosting further security measures to deal with the next part of the agitation, the Centre now firmly holds the calling card of pulling the plug on the protests. It had already reached the breakpoint of flexibility by offering a buffer of 18 months before implementation of the new laws. However, all the offers to accommodate their concerns were always met with brazen obstinacy from the farm unions. It won’t come as a surprise if the Centre withdraws its offer of putting on hold the three farm laws. The Government and even the Supreme Court are now well within their rights to close all negotiations and move ahead with the implementation of the new laws.

All through the series of negotiations, the Government had shown commendable restraint while dealing with the farm unions’ “my-way-or-the-highway” approach. Despite being offered a platform to register their grievances on the reforms by the Supreme Court, the farm unions chose to mock at every democratic tenet. If only one side is forced to make all the compromises then it is blatant undermining of a democratic process of dialogue. The Centre has no obligation now to cater to the cause of the farm unions after their highly condemnable behaviour on the Republic Day

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