Chandigarh (Punjab) [India], July 23 (ANI): Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Thursday demanded immediate resignation of Union Minister Meenakshi Lekhi over her "hooligans, not farmers" remark.

He said that Lekhi's remark reflects the BJP's anti-farmer mindset.

Singh slammed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader for using derogatory language for the farmers, stating that they have been peacefully agitating against the central Farm Laws for the past nearly eight months, according to an official release.

He also condemned the alleged attack on a journalist at the farmers' protest site at Delhi's Jantar Mantar.

Cornering Centre for its "brazen attempts to stifle all voices of dissent and protest", he said: "While the assault on the journalist covering the farmers was deplorable and action should be taken against the guilty person, the Union Minister's reaction was totally uncalled for and provocative."

"Lekhi had no right to defame the farmers in such a manner," said the Punjab Chief Minister.

He called for the Delhi Police probe to identify the accused who attacked the journalist and added that BJP had no right to condemn the farmers in such an "outrageous manner" over the incident.

He said that simmering anger among the farmers, who are losing their lives and livelihoods due to the Centre's draconian actions, was a matter of serious concern and Prime Minister Narendra Modi should immediately take steps to resolve the crisis, which could have serious repercussions for the country.

Pointing out that Intelligence reports suggest that pro-Khalistani elements from across the border are looking to exploit the resentment of the farmers against India, Singh warned of a grave security failure if the Centre does not pay heed to these reports.

Singh's remarks came after Lekhi while addressing a press conference on Thursday said: "They are not farmers, they are hooligans... These are criminal acts. What happened on January 26 was also shameful criminals activities. Opposition promoted such activities."

Her statement came after a senior video journalist of a leading media channel was allegedly attacked during the protest organised by farmers against the three farm laws, at Jantar Mantar in the national capital on Thursday.

Later, apologising for her "hooligans, not farmers" remark, Lekhi had said that her statement on the alleged attack on a media person during the farmers' protest was "misinterpreted".

Farmers, who have been protesting at Delhi's borders were permitted to hold a 'Farmers Parliament' from Thursday at Jantar Mantar in limited numbers with limited numbers not exceeding 200 persons for Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) and six persons for Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee (KMSC) from 11 am to 5 pm daily.

Farmers have been protesting on the different borders of the national capital since November 26 last year against the three newly enacted farm laws. So far, several rounds of talks have been held between the Centre and farmer leaders to break the deadlock between the two parties. (ANI)

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