“There is no provocative element in Tikait’s statement," Kumaraswamy said.

Attempt to silence farmers voice Kumaraswamy on FIR against Rakesh TikaitFile image
news Politics Thursday, March 25, 2021 - 13:13

Former Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy on Thursday expressed strong reservations over FIRs (First Information Reports) registered by Karnataka police booking Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait over an allegedly provocative speech. In a series of tweets, HDK said that this move by the police at the behest of the state government was an “attempt to silence the voice of farmers”. He also reasoned that there was nothing provocative about Tikait’s speech as he had called for protests and did not advocate any form of violence.

TNM on Wednesday had reported that the Shivamogga police had booked Tikait on a suo motu basis under section 153 (Giving a provocative speech with intent to cause riot) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) over his speech on March 20. Tikait along with other farmer leaders from northern India was addressing a farmer’s mahapanchayat to mobilise support for farmers in Delhi’s borders, who are sitting in protest for the last three months against the union government’s three new farm laws. A similar FIR was registered by police in Haveri district.

Read: FIR against Rakesh Tikait for urging farmers to 'lay siege' to Bengaluru with tractors

In his first tweet, Kumaraswamy said, “The police have booked a case against Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait in Shivamogga and Haveri on the charges of delivering provocative speeches. This is nothing but an attempt to silence the voice of farmers.” The ex-CM in his next tweet said that had the police really wanted to book people for provocative speeches, then there would have been many such cases against BJP leaders.

He added, “There is no provocative element in Tikait’s statement, which said, ‘Farmers need not come to Delhi for the struggle against new farm laws. You can launch a struggle here itself like the one in Delhi’. In fact it is 'faulty grasping' if someone feels that his statement is provocative.”

He went on to say that the call for a protest was well within the rights granted by the Constitution and demanded that the FIR against Tikait be withdrawn at the earliest.