The "black ink and the deadly attack" cannot suppress the voices of farmers and labourers, Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait has said after ink was thrown on him in Bengaluru.
Miscreants on Monday threw ink on Tikait during an event organised by a farmers' organisation at Gandhi Bhavan in the Karnataka capital following which three people were arrested.
The organisers and the miscreants then attacked each other with plastic chairs. Tikait has held the local police responsible for the episode and alleged that attack on him was in connivance with the BJP-led state government.
"The black ink and the deadly attack cannot suppress the voice of farmers, labourers, Dalits, the exploited, backwards and tribals of this country. The fight will continue till the last breath," the farmer leader tweeted in Hindi late on Monday night. Karnataka Home Minister Araga Jnanendra has dismissed the allegations that those who targeted Tikait were BJP leaders.
"We are in touch with the officers. Three people have been arrested and are being interrogated. I denounce this act. Everyone has got the right to freedom of expression under the Constitution," he said. According to the organisers, the programme, which also included a press conference, was convened to "clear doubts" on farmer leader Kodihalli Chandrashekar following a sting operation against him, and Tikait was invited for it.
In the meeting, the miscreants appeared in the crowd posing as journalists and pretended to take notes. One of them went on the stage apparently to adjust the microphone in front of Tikait and then tried to attack him with the mic. Another person threw ink on Tikait that stained his turban, face, white kurta, and green shawl worn around his neck.
Opposition parties, including the Congress, the Aam Aadmi Party and the Rashtriya Lok Dal, condemned the incident and sought immediate police action against the culprits. Tikait, a vocal critic of the BJP, was one of the prominent faces of the 2020 farmers' protest against the now-repealed three central agri-marketing laws.Tikait's BKU was part of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), which had led the over-a-year-long protest against the Centre at Delhi's borders.