Farmer leader Rakesh Tikait was attacked with black paint during a press conference at Gandhi Bhavan in Bengaluru on Monday.
The police arrested three attackers from the spot. The attack happened when Tikait was attending a press conference on “Raita Chaluvali, Aatmavalokana haagu Spasteekarana Sabha (Farmer’s Movement, Introspection and Clarification Meeting)” organised by Karnataka State Farmers’ Association and Hasiru Sene.
The leaders were clarifying the recent allegations against farmer leader Kodihalli Chandrashekar, who was exposed by the local media for negotiating bribes to stop protests. Three men suddenly climbed the platform and threw black paint upon Tikait. Another farmer leader, Yudhvir Singh, was also smeared with black paint.
Eye-witnesses said that Rakesh Tikait suffered an injury to his head. Farmer leaders and activists, who were present at the press conference, dragged the miscreants and thrashed them. The local police, who rushed to the spot, arrested the three.
The farmer leaders have expressed their anger over the failure of the Karnataka Police in protecting Tikait. They claimed that the threat perception was communicated to the police, but they turned a blind eye.
Tikait, the national spokesperson of the Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) and a prominent face of the farmers’ protests against the three contentious farms laws which were repealed by the Union government as a result of the nearly year-long agitation, was addressing the media at the time of the incident.
Tikait has blamed the local police for the incident and alleged that the attack was carried out in collusion with the BJP government in Karnataka. The High Grounds police have detained three persons in connection with the incident, according to The Hindu.
Outside the building where the press meet had taken place, some members of the group that attacked Tikait and were being detained by the police, were seen raising slogans of ‘Down Down Rakesh Tikait’ and ‘Modi Zindabad’, while holding up a picture of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Slogans praising the Prime Minister were also heard during the violence inside the hall.
Meanwhile, this is not the first time that Tikait has faced threats to his safety. On March 28, 2022, he had allegedly received a death threat from an unknown caller, who also hurled abuses at him, according to the police in UP’s Muzaffarnagar. Senior superintendent of police, Muzaffarnagar, Abhishek Yadav had told the media at that time that the police have launched an investigation based on a complaint filed by the BKU leader’s driver Perjval Tyagi at the Civil Lines police station. A police team led by senior sub-inspector Rakesh Sharma had visited Tikait’s residence and spoken to him, the police said.
Tikait had also alleged a threat to his life in December 2020. In a police complaint, Tikait’s aide claimed the senior farmer leader received a threatening phone call. An FIR was registered in connection with the death threat to Rakesh Tikait at Kaushambi police station in UP’s Ghaziabad. The case was lodged under Section 507 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) which corresponds to charges of criminal intimidation by anonymous communication.