Tikait was reportedly addressing the media over allegations against Karnataka farmer leader Kodihalli Chandrashekar when the attack happened.

Farmer leader Rakesh Tikait after ink was thrown at him at a press meet in BengaluruFarmer leader Rakesh Tikait after ink was thrown at him at a press meet in Bengaluru
news Controversy Monday, May 30, 2022 - 15:49

A few people barged into a press conference being addressed by farmer leader Rakesh Tikait and threw black ink at him in Bengaluru on Monday, May 30. Tikait, the national spokesperson of the Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) and a prominent face of the farmers' protests against the three contentious farms laws which were repealed by the Union government as a result of the nearly year-long agitation, was addressing the media in Bengaluru’s Gandhi Bhavan when the incident occurred. According to reports, around 12 people barged into the room and threw ink at him while he was speaking. Visuals from the location also showed a few people attacking those present in the room with chairs. Tikait has blamed the local police for the incident and alleged that the attack was done in collusion with the BJP government in Karnataka.  

Tikait was reportedly talking to the media about allegations against Karnataka farmer leader Kodihalli Chandrashekar, after a sting operation by a television channel. The video from the sting operation had led to allegations that Chandrashekar had demanded money to end the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) employees’ strike in April 2021. Tikait was addressing the media when a few people entered the room and started to argue with him, and then threw black ink at him. Visuals showed a scuffle breaking out between supporters of Tikait and those who had entered to disrupt the meeting, as the attackers started to throw chairs at those present. 

The High Grounds police have detained three persons in connection to the incident, according to The Hindu. Outside the building where the press meet had taken place, some of the members of the group who had attacked Tikait and were being detained by the police, were seen raising slogans of ‘Down Down Rakesh Tikait’ and ‘Modi Zindabad’, while holding up a picture of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Slogans praising the Prime Minister were also heard during the violence inside the hall. 

After the ink attack, Tikait told the media that the police were responsible to provide security at the event which they had failed to do, and alleged that the state BJP government was complicit in the attack. “No security has been provided by the local police here. This has been done in collusion with the government,” Tikait said after the ink attack, according to ANI. 

Condemning the incident, Kisan Ekta Morcha, a coalition of farmers' unions across India formed to coordinate the agitation against the three farm laws, said, “We strongly condemn the cowardly attack on Rakesh Tikait in Karnataka. Such attacks are happening only to break our spirits. Some people are not able to digest the victory of farmers in the #FarmersProtest. The self-esteem of farmers is being hurt, against which we shall protest.”

Earlier on Saturday, May 28, a group of JD(S) workers had also reportedly tried to spray ink on Kodihalli Chandrashekar at the Press Club of Bengaluru when he had arrived to address a press meet over the allegations against him. Eight people were arrested by the Cubbon Park police following the incident, The New Indian Express reported.

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