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Amarinder Singh slams Government for spreading misinformation about Farmers in Punjab

Chintu Das
Chintu Das
Amarinder Singh

On Sunday, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh criticized the centre for spreading "false information" about the state's farmers, a day after the central government clarified its memo to the Punjab government about cases of people being given drugs and forced to work as laborers.

The Chief Minister was responding to a letter sent to the Punjab government by the Ministry of Home Affairs about 58 "bonded laborers" rescued in the northern state. He called it "yet another conspiracy to defame Punjab's farmers," whom the central government and the BJP have been "consistently seeking to malign by calling them jihadists, urban Naxals, and goons" in order to derail their protest against the new central farm laws.

Captain Singh slammed the centre for its "unwarranted allegations" of farmers in Punjab using people as bonded laborers, calling the letter a "bundle of lies." "An examination of the entire episode shows that extremely classified national security information about the detention of some suspected persons by the Border Security Force (BSF) along the volatile Indo-Pak border has been unscrupulously spun on false conjectures to malign and tarnish the farmer group," Captain Singh said in a statement.

"The selective leaking of the contents of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) letter to some leading newspapers and media houses without waiting for an adequate response from the state government has further substantiated this fact," he said.

The Chief Minister promised that his government and the state police are capable of safeguarding the human rights of the vulnerable, saying that adequate action has already been taken in each situation and that the majority of the people are staying with their families. "If it comes to light at this stage, appropriate disciplinary action will be taken against the perpetrators," he said.

The BSF discovered that these 58 persons, who were brought to Punjab with the expectation of a decent salary but were abused, were given medicines and coerced to work in inhumane conditions once they arrived, according to the Home Ministry's March 17 letter to the Chief Secretary of Punjab. According to the Home Ministry, these laborers were apprehended in Punjab's frontier regions of Gurdaspur, Amritsar, Ferozepur, and Abohar in 2019 and 2020, according to the BSF.

The Punjab chief minister dismissed the letter as "factually false," claiming that neither the data nor the reports received by the BSF were in line with its contents. "It is not the task of the BSF to investigate such matters; they are only responsible for detaining and handing over any person found wandering along the border in suspicious circumstances to the local police," he said in the statement.

The Congress leader also said that all 58 cases alleged by the government had been extensively investigated and that nothing of the sort had been uncovered. He also went through the 58 cases that were investigated in depth, arguing that the claims of slave labor and substance trafficking were untrue.

"There is no evidence that they were forcibly infused with medications to prevent them going for extended periods of time, and it is therefore wrong to say that their intellectual disability was caused by drugs," he added. The Home Ministry called media reports linking its letter to the farmers' unrest "distorted" and "misleading" on Saturday, saying no intent should be ascribed to a regular contact regarding law and order issues.

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