Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait has stirred a controversy with his remark on Khalistani terrorist Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale. Speaking to the media, the ‘farmer’ leader said that there are some people who consider Bhindranwale a ‘saint’.
राकेश टिकैत का विवादित बयान, खालिस्तानी आतंकी भिंडरावाले को बताया संत.. pic.twitter.com/rvsrD13JPV
— Newsroom Post (@NewsroomPostCom) October 6, 2021
In a short video that is being widely shared on social media, one of the reporters raised the question of terrorists being supported by the protestors in Lakhimpur Kheri in Uttar Pradesh. Rakesh Tikait initially remarked, “a child was seen sporting a t-shirt carrying the picture of someone”. When reports pointed out that it was the picture of Bhindranwale, Tikait further responded by saying, “some people consider Bhindranwale a saint while the government believes him to be a terrorist”.
It may be noted that the BKU leader’s sudden change of stance- from giving provocative statements trying to foment trouble to suddenly be seen with the Uttar Pradesh Police in a press conference where the police were announcing Rs 45 lakh compensation for those killed in the violence, had not gone down well with the Congress Party and its loyalists who have grabbed on to the Lakhimpur Kheri incident with both hands to malign the Yogi government in the state ahead of the upcoming UP Assembly polls.
Sikh Man is seen with Bhindranwale t-shirt during farmer protests in Lakhimpur Kheri
On the 3rd of October, purported farmer protesters threw stones at the BJP convoy. A vehicle in the convoy ran over some of the protesters, allegedly after losing control, and killed two people. Following this the protesters attacked the convoy, killing four people and torching vehicles. Two more farmers were also killed in the violence. A total of eight persons were killed in the conflict, including four protestors, three BJP members, and a driver who was part of the BJP convoy.
While the protesting farmers claimed that the union minister Ajay Kumar Mishra’s son was at the wheel of the vehicle that collided killing the protestors, the minister has said that his son was not even present at the time of the incident.
An individual was spotted wearing a Bhindranwale t-shirt in several photographs while a violent mob attacked BJP members with batons and called for their deaths. The presence of Khalistani sympathisers sparked several doubts about the movement, including whether or not the violence was pre-planned.
Additionally, a WhatsApp group named ‘Lalkar’ was created just before the Lakhimpur incident. The admin of the group was a former member of Babbar Khalsa, a banned Khalistani organisation.