Farmers Protest in Delhi: Thousands have been demanding repeal of the farm laws. (File)
- The Supreme Court today put on hold three farm laws
- Top court asked for an affidavit on ''Khalistanis' reference
- "Yes. I will file it, place the IB records," said the Attorney General
The Supreme Court today put on hold three farm laws that are the cause of protests near Delhi by thousands of farmers. In the hearing, the government argued that ''Khalistanis'' had infiltrated the protests.
As Attorney General KK Venugopal made the statement, the Supreme Court asked him to file an affidavit. The top government lawyer said he would do so by tomorrow along with inputs from the Intelligence Bureau (IB).
The Khalistan reference emerged when a farmer group in favour of the central laws alleged that banned organisations had entered the protests.
Senior lawyer Harish Salve, appearing for a petitioner supporting the farm laws, told the top court, "Those who organised rallies for Khalistan have put up flags at the protests".
Chief Justice of India SA Bobde asked the Attorney General whether the allegations could be confirmed.
"We have said that Khalistanis have infiltrated into the protests," Mr Venugopal said.
The Chief Justice responded: "If there is an infiltration by a banned organization, and somebody is making an allegation here on record, you have to confirm it. You file an affidavit by tomorrow."
"Yes. I will file the affidavit and place the IB records," said the Attorney General.
The Khalistan movement by Sikh separatists led to insurgency in Punjab in the 1980s. In 1984, then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards months after the army stormed the Golden Temple, the holiest Sikh shrine, to flush out armed separatists.
Following a heavy crackdown by the Punjab police, the movement all but died down in Punjab though many outfits are still active outside India.
Senior ministers and BJP leaders have been alleging the involvement of Khalistanis in the farmers' protests, besides what they call the "Tukde tukde gang" (which refers to forces dividing the country) and Maoists.
BJP leaders said "pro-Pakistan and pro-Khalistan" slogans were shouted by the protesters and the agitation "seemed to have been hijacked".