Arun Narang, the Bharatiya Janata Party MLA from Abohar in Punjab, was at the receiving end of farmers’ ire on March 27 when he went to Malout township in Muktsar district to address a media conference. Some farmers, allegedly of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), allegedly pounced on him even as he was about to reach the venue, threw ink on him and raised slogans against the BJP. Farmers who have been protesting against the new farm laws for more than four months now apparently hold him responsible for the continued indifference of the Central government to their protest.
Arun Narang was surrounded by irate farmers in green and yellow headgear, but was escorted safely to a shop by security personnel who quickly downed the shutter of the shop. However, after some time when Arun Narang stepped out of the shop, along with two local BJP leaders, the farmers again manhandled him. They pulled his kurta and tore it, and he was stripped waist upwards. Plenty of visuals hit the social media handles showing Narang ducking to avoid blows of the protesters. The police personnel’s attempts to shield the MLA bore little fruit as the protesters, chanting slogans against the BJP and the new farm laws, vented their anger at the helpless MLA.
Arun Narang had in the past called the farmers’ protests as Khalistanis’ protest, greatly angering the peaceful protesters sitting at the borders of Delhi at Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur. The central leadership of the party had distanced itself from the comment.
All parties, including the ruling Congress in Punjab, condemned the attack on the MLA, but local kisan leaders were not surprised by the incident. These leaders pointed out that from the time the protests began in a big way in September, the BJP MLAs and MPs could not enter their constituencies for fear of facing farmers. No leader held an actual press conference, and they avoided all public platforms. Narang had stepped out to question the Amarinder Singh government on its alleged failures following four years in office when he was manhandled.
Darshan Pal, leader of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha, condemned the violence and appealed for peace. Chief Minister Amarinder Singh promised to bring the guilty to book even as local BJP leaders called for President’s rule in the State