Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) chief Sukhbir Singh Badal accused the Central government of intimidating the farmers through central agencies after the National Investigation Agency (NIA) summoned Farmer leader Baldev Singh Sirsa and Punjabi actor Deep Sidhu among 40 others yesterday.
“Strongly condemn Centre's attempts to intimidate farmer leaders and supporters of Kisan Andolan by calling them for questioning by NIA and ED. They aren't anti-nationals. And after failure of talks for the 9th time, it's absolutely clear that GOI is only trying to tire out farmers,” Sukhbir Singh Badal said in a tweet.
Farmer leader Baldev Singh Sirsa, who has been part of the farm laws negotiations with Union government was summoned for questioning on January 17. A NIA official confirmed the summons but claimed that Singh was being called as a witness. "Notice has been sent under Section 160 CRPC which is done for witness summon," the NIA official said.
Strongly condemn Centre's attempts to intimidate farmer leaders & supporters of #KisanAndolan by calling them for questioning by #NIA & ED. They aren't anti-nationals. And after failure of talks for the 9th time, it's absolutely clear that GOI is only trying to tire out farmers. pic.twitter.com/3x5T8VNdph— Sukhbir Singh Badal (@officeofssbadal) January 16, 2021
The SAD leader had earlier backed the farmers and condemned the Centre for its alleged treatment of them as "enemies". SAD’s support to farmers came months after the party break its ties with the BJP on farm laws.
News18 earlier reported that Sirsa was summoned in connection with NIA's FIR number 04/2020 registered on December 15, 2020, which alleges that Sikh For Justice, and other pro-Khalistan organisations like Khalisatan Zindabad Force, Babbar Khalsa International and Khalistan Tiger Force are “conspiring to create atmosphere of fear and lawlessness, to cause disaffection in people and to incite them towards rebellion against government of India."
The FIR claims that the groups proscribed under UAPA, "routed money through NGOs In furtherance of the above conspiracy , huge funds are being collected for on ground campaign and propaganda against government of india including staging protests outside indian missions in countries like US, UK, Cannada and Germany. "
NIA has named Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, Paramjit Singh Pamma and Hardip Singh Nijjar for spearheading these campaigns.
"It has also been learnt that funds so collected are being routed through NGOs to pro khalistan elements in India to carry out disruptive and terror activities," the NIA said.
Reacting to the summon by the NIA, Baldev Singh Sirsa reportedly said, “The government is fearing the tractor parade in Delhi on January 26 and is trying to terrorise people of Punjab by sending these notices through the NIA. The sole motive is to derail the farmer agitation. However, we will continue our struggle for the repeal of the laws.”
Others summoned by NIA with Sirsa are: journalists Baltej Panu and Jasvir Singh, Mandeep Singh Sidhu, Paramjit Singh Akali, Nobeljeet Singh, Jung Singh, Pradeep Singh, Surinder Singh Thikriwala, Palwinder Singh, Indrapal Singh, Ranjeet Singh Dumdumi Mint and Karnail Singh Dasuha.