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Govt Treating Farmers The Way China is Treating India: Chidambaram

“This is completely undemocratic...This is the way a fascist government’s police will behave,” Chidambaram said. 

Updated
India
3 min read

Video Producer: Hera Khan
Video Editor: Md. Irshad

Former Union Home Minister P Chidambaram, on Wednesday, 3 January, in an exclusive interview with The Quint, said that the Indian government is treating the farmers the same way the Chinese government is treating the Indian government along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

Speaking on the farmers’ protests and the recent barricading at Delhi borders, Chidambaram slammed the Centre and Delhi Police for the “undemocratic” and “fascist” manner in which farmers have been reportedly denied access to toilets, langars and protestors as old as 80 years being arrested.

“This is completely undemocratic, this is fascist. This is the way a fascist government’s police will behave,” Chidambaram said.

In a conversation with The Quint’, Chidambaram explained that just as the Chinese government has gone through multiple rounds of talks with the Indian government without withdrawing an inch, so has the Indian government with the farmers.

So, the Chinese government says 11 rounds of talks but I won’t withdraw an inch. The Indian government tells the farmers the same thing. Nine rounds of talks but we won’t withdraw an inch. What is the difference? What is the difference I want to know.
P Chidambaram

‘Are We A Democracy?’: Chidambaram

On 1 February, the three borders protest sites of Delhi - Ghazipur, Singhu and Tikri - saw barricades, boulders, nails and barbed wires come up as additional forces made their way there while the farmers continue their agitation against the Centre’s three contentious farm laws.

Reacting to deployment of forces and the several layers of barricading, Chidambaram asked if these sights belong in a democracy.

“Are we a democracy? In a democracy the government puts up concrete barriers, spikes, digs up the roads, arms the police with iron on the baton? Is this a democracy?” he said.

When asked if cutting off internet and the unprecedented scenes of barricades and iron nails belied the existing protocols and standard operating procedures (SOPs) of the Centre in dealing with citizens’ protests, Chidambaram said, “Of course, there is an SOP but this government doesn’t care for SOPs.”

“How can you deny access to toilets? How can you deny access to langars for the protesting farmers? They can’t use the toilets provided by the Delhi government. What are we doing to our own people? These are our people,” he added.

Slamming the Centre for its measures in dealing with the protests in the wake of the 26 January clashes with Delhi Police, Chidambaram said the farmers were neither enemies nor infiltrators and described the current situation as “fascist.”

They are not foreigners, they are not infiltrators, they are not enemies. They are Indian farmers. And you go and arrest an 80-year-old Sikh farmer. What for? Is he a threat to this country? This is completely undemocratic, this is fascist. This is the way a fascist government’s police will behave.
P Chidambaram, former Union Home Minister
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‘Discuss With Farmers & Pass a New Law in 3 Months’

Commenting on the merits of the protesters being adamant on the repeal of the three farm laws, Chidambaram said that even if one were to assume for arguments’ sake that the laws were passed after adequate discussion, consultation and with good intentions, the fact remains that the farmers do not want the laws.

“The laws you are making for the farming community are saying they don’t want these laws,” the former home minister said, adding “So, why don’t you take it back and say alright, we’ve done it with good intention, after discussion and consultation. But if you don’t want the law, we will take it back and we will start another discussion and pass another set of laws three months from today. Parliament is still there. Parliament has not been wound up in this country, fortunately.”

“So, go back and discuss with them and come back with a new law,” he added.

Chidambaram likened the strategy of the Centre to deal with the farmers to the manner in which the Chinese government and military’s negotiations have progressed with the Indian counterparts.

(The Quint is available on Telegram. For handpicked stories every day, subscribe to us on Telegram)

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