Several BJP leaders who had gone to a temple in Haryana to watch Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s live telecast from Kedarnath temple found themselves surrounded by farmers, who have been protesting for nearly a year against three controversial agricultural laws.
The protesters specifically singled out BJP leader and former minister Manish Grover, who they alleged had used objectionable language against farmers. The BJP leaders and other party members were stuck in the temple for nearly eight hours as the standoff continued over the protesters’ demand for the former minister to offer an apology.
Eventually, Mr Grover with folded hands on camera apologised to the farmers, after which the men confined to the temple were allowed to go, the farmers said.
The police had rushed in more personnel from other districts to control the situation at the temple in Kiloi village in Rohtak district, some 78 km from Gurgaon. Two protesters have been arrested. The Delhi-Hisar National Highway was briefly shut to traffic.
The other leaders who had been held hostage inside the temple were party organisation minister Ravindra Raju, Mayor Manmohan Goyal, BJP district chief Ajay Bansal and party leader Satish Nandal.
The farmers had asked the crowd to surround the temple from all sides. Sources said policemen from Sonipat and Jhajjar had also reached the area, and they were told to be ready to deal with any situation.
Farmers especially from Haryana and Punjab have been protesting against the farm laws alleging that they would give control of agriculture in private hands. The government has denied this allegation and has even offered to amend the laws.
BJP leaders who have been in and around areas where big concentration of protesting farmers have gathered have often become targets in recent times, since the BJP is also in the centre, which made the new laws.
BJP Rajya Sabha member Ram Chander Jangra also faced slogans and black flags by a group of farmers in Haryana’s Hisar district today when he came to inaugurate a dharmshala (inn). The windshield of his car was smashed in a fight between the police and farmers.