On Saturday, Lok Bhalai Insaf Welfare Society (LBIWS) president Baldev Singh Sirsa has alleged that the National Investigation Agency (NIA) is working day and night to derail the farmers' protest. Sirsa’s allegations came after the NIA asked him to appear for questioning in connection with a case against Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannu.
“The NIA is working day and night to wreck the farmers’ parade on January 26. The central government is bent on defaming the protest,” Sirsa told a leading national daily. He further alleged that the Centre is using the Agency to try sabotaging the farmers’ protest. “First the Centre tried sabotaging the farmers through the Supreme Court and now they are using the NIA,” Sirsa said.
Reportedly, the NIA has summoned Sirsa to its New Delhi headquarters on January 17 for interrogation in a case registered against Pannu for allegedly conspiring to create an “atmosphere of fear and lawlessness and to cause disaffection in people and to invite them towards rising in rebellion against the Government of India."
According to some reports, Sirsa has been called a “witness” in a case related to terror funding. The NIA is said to be investigating cases against Khalistani outfits. Reportedly, NIA sources claim that banned Khalistani outfits like SFJ are providing funds to Indian NGOs to incite them to spread fear among people. During a recent hearing of petitions related to the farmers' protest, the Supreme Court of India asked if Attorney General KK Venugopal could confirm if Khalistani outfits infiltrated the farmers' protest. The AG replied that the central government is informed of such infiltration.
However, Sirsa still believes that such a move is being done to harass the farmers. “Many associated with the farmers’ protest have received such summons. This is done to harass those working with farmers. However, we are not going to let this affect us,” Sirsa said.
Sirsa’s Lok Bhalai Insaf Welfare Society is one of the many farmers’ unions involved in the farmers’ protest against the Centre’s three farm laws. During the ninth round of talks between Centre and Farmers Unions, Sirsa was also present along with 40 other union leaders. No progress was made during yesterday’s talks with both Centre and farmers refusing to budge from their stands. The next round of talks will take place on January 19.