Clashes broke out in a village in Uttar Pradesh's Muzaffarnagar between supporters of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) following BJP MP Sanjeev Balyan's visit to the area on Monday, 22 February.
This comes a day after slogans were raised against Balyan while he was meeting farmers in Shamli, reported The Indian Express.
On Monday, Balyan was visiting a family in Soram for a condolence meet which the RLD claimed "he was not invited to." The clashes broke out after arguments between the two parties’ supporters escalated.
Earlier during mahapanchayats held in different parts of West UP, in solidarity with farmers, several members of the Rakesh Tikait-led Bharat Kisan Union (BKU) and other Jat leaders had reportedly called for a boycott of BJP leaders from social functions.
“The MP had come to a house in Soram for a prayer meet. An argument broke out among local supporters of both parties. A scuffle took place and few people received minor injuries. We are in the process of filing an FIR as both sides will be submitting a written complaint. There is no law-and-order situation presently in the village,” said an official from Shahpur Police Station to The Indian Express.
After the incident, RLD leader Jayant Chaudhary tweeted pictures of injured locals stating, “A fight took place between BJP supporters and farmers. If you can’t talk to farmers, at least behave properly. Respect the farmers. How long will villagers tolerate goons trying to explain the law to them?”
Balyan responded by saying that he condemns the attempt by RLD to disrupt the harmony of the region in the name of farmers’ protest.
According to a report in The Hindu, BKU’s national spokesperson Rakesh Tikait said farmers should maintain their brotherhood, stating: “When a public representative comes to the village, people should not cross the limits of decency while asking questions.” He also asked the public representative to respect the sentiments of people, as per The Hindu.
Soram is the epicentre where all khap records and decisions are maintained in Western Uttar Pradesh. It is also the mahapanchayat to which both Balyan and the Tikait brothers belong.
Meanwhile, BKU president Naresh Tikait addressed a panchayat in Bulandshahr on Monday where he told reporters that he had cautioned BJP leaders that meeting farmers in villages won’t help. “We need a more mature approach. That’s why I suggested Rajnath Singh to take a lead. He has a better grasp over farmers’ issues,” he said.