Ludhiana: Punjab BJP demanded the police to book Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) members for hurting Hindu sentiments by calling for burning effigies of Prime Minister Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah on Dussehra, The Indian Express reported. The party urged the police to ensure the "sanctity of the religious festival" is not disturbed. It added that Article 19 of the Constitution grants the right to protest but under restrictions.
BJP general secretary of the state, Subhash Sharma, said that a few SKM leaders are deliberately and maliciously trying to hurt society's feelings through effigy burning on Dussehra day. Sharma also wrote to the DGP that the Supreme Court had given directions to the police to take preventive measures and remedies if certain forces try to breach the peace and create disharmony during festivals. He said that the pious festival of Dussehra is a primary religious event in the country, and any attempt to disrespect or disturb it should be curtailed. He urged the DGP to lodge an FIR against the SKM leaders under IPC Sections 153A and B, 295A read with 298 and 425.
But SKM members said that people could complain, but they are going forward with the effigy burning. Darshan Pal, a member of SKM and president of Krantikari Kisan Union, Punjab, said they had asked people to avoid sensitive areas for the burning. Dussehra means victory of good over evil, he said, and they had been struggling against the farm laws since June last year. Many incidents have happened so far, including the Lakhimpur Kheri violence.
Another SKM member and general secretary of BKU (Dakaunda), Jagmohan Singh Patiala, said they were not stopping anyone from celebrating Dussehra. Even last year, effigies were burnt in many places during the festival, he added,
Meanwhile, BJP Punjab's spokesperson Anil Sareen asked why farmers were protesting and burning effigies during Hindu festivals. He added that the protesting farmers held a 'black Diwali', and on Raksha Bandhan, they held a 'chakka jam', last year. He said that he appeals to farmers to choose other days to protests rather than Hindu festival days.