Iron nails, barbed wires turn farmers' protest sites into fortresses

Baldev Singh
·6-min read

With multi-layered barricading, iron nails on road, barbed wires, iron rods between cemented barriers and deployment of DTC buses and extra personnel on ground, the tremendous security cover at and near the farmers' protest locations have now become sites of unusual attraction.

The strengthened security measures at the agitation sites across the borders come after the violence during the Republic day tractor parade by protesting farmers' in which 394 security personnel were injured.

Even media persons covering the agitation manage to reach the protest sites with difficulty as they first have to pass through checking and then cross multiple layers of barricading.

A BKU office-bearer at Ghazipur border, which now resembles a highly-secured fortress, said despite the odds, supporters from far-off places are reaching the site to express solidarity with farmers.

'Andolan to hota hi hai mushqil mein, aaraam se kaun sa andolan hota hai (A movement happens in adverse conditions only, it never happens in comfort),' BKU's Uttar Pradesh unit spokesperson Pawan Khatana told PTI.

He said so far supporters from Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand have come to Ghazipur, while small groups of people from states like Maharashtra, Karnataka and Bihar too have reached here.

Farmer agitation rocks Lok Sabha

The issue of ongoing farmer agitation against three farm laws rocked the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, resulting in repeated disruptions and forcing Speaker Om Birla to adjourn the House for the day.

When the House reassembled after initial adjournments at 7 pm, Birla asked BJP member Locket Chatterjee to initiate the discussion on the Motion of Thanks on the president's address amid sloganeeering by the opposition members.

Chatterjee began her speech by praising the government for deciding to celebrate the birthday of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose on January 23 as 'Prakram Diwas' every year. The member from the poll-bound state of West Bengal continued her address amid the din.

After repeated appeals by the Speaker and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi failed to calm the agitated members, Birla adjourned the House for the day.

Earlier, the proceedings of the House were adjourned for about an hour till 7 pm after opposition members disrupted the Question Hour to press for repeal of the farm laws.

As soon as the proceedings started, opposition members from parties including the Congress, DMK and the Trinamool Congress trooped into the Well of the House, raising slogans demanding repeal of the three 'black' laws.

Shiv Sena's Sanjay Raut meets Tikait, extends party's support to farmers' stir

Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Tuesday met Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait and extended “full support” of his party and the Maharashtra government to the farmers' protest against the contentious farm laws.

The Rajya Sabha MP said he reached Ghazipur on the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border along with other Shiv Sena MPs on instructions of Maharashtra Chief Minister and party supremo Uddhav Thackeray, even as the protest site virtually remained a heavily secured fortress for a second day.

The Shiv Sena has from day one opposed the new farm laws and supports all farmers' protests ongoing in the country, Raut said embracing Tikait as they spoke to the press inside a tarpaulin-covered shelter off the protest stage.

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday dismissed a PIL seeking immediate release of protesters "illegally detained" by police during the farmers' tractor rally on Republic Day and said, "no relief without entering into merits of FIRs and investigation".

The court further directed the police to complete investigation in the FIRs registered against protesters and take action in accordance with law, Bar and Bench reported.

"Within 24 hours, the arrested persons will have to be produced before the nearest magistrate," said the court.

While dismissing the plea, the division bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh observed that this "appears to be a publicity interest litigation".

The plea was filed by law graduate Harman Preet Singh through advocates Ashima Mandla and Mandakini Singh.

The petitioner claimed that he had come to know through personal survey, news reports and social activists that "people were illegally detained from the Singhu, Ghaziabad and Tikri borders, in the absence of an FIR, thereby violating the basic fabric of liberty."

Singh, further stated in his petition that the Delhi Police on 27 January said that it has detained over 200 people in connection with the violence in the National Capital on 26 January and 22 FIRs have also been registered thus far.

"Furthermore, through personal data collection, the petitioner has the names of 15 people out of the aforementioned set of persons, who have been missing and detained since 26 and 27 January, and despite a passage of over four days, no legally tenable reason has surfaced supporting such detention," it said.

The petition contends that assuming that the FIRs have been registered against the 200 detained persons, not signing of arrest memos, or informing next of kin and not producing them before a magistrate "falls within the contours of illegal detention".

"It is the humble submission on behalf of the petitioner that assuming the Delhi Police has registered FIRs qua the aforementioned 200 persons, the failure to comply with signing of the arrest memo and/or informing the next of kin within a period of 8-12 hours, and non-production of the persons before the magistrate under section 167 CrPC, falls within the contours of 'illegal detention'," it said.

The tractor parade in Delhi on 26 January that was meant to highlight the demands of farmer unions to repeal three new agri laws witnessed violence, as thousands of protesters broke through barriers, fought with the police, overturned vehicles and hoisted a religious flag from the ramparts of the iconic Red Fort.

On 12 January, the Supreme Court had stayed the implementation of the contentious new farm laws till further orders and constituted a four-member committee to make recommendations to resolve the impasse over them between the Centre and farmers' unions protesting at Delhi borders.

Thousands of farmers, mainly from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, are protesting at various border points of Delhi for over two months now against the three laws — the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act.

Delhi HC dismisses PIL seeking release of those 'illegally detained' at tractor rally

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday dismissed a PIL seeking immediate release of protesters "illegally detained" by police during the farmers' tractor rally on Republic Day and said, "no relief without entering into merits of FIRs and investigation".

The court further directed the police to complete investigation in the FIRs registered against protesters and take action in accordance with law, Bar and Bench reported.

"Within 24 hours, the arrested persons will have to be produced before the nearest magistrate," said the court.

While dismissing the plea, the division bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh observed that this "appears to be a publicity interest litigation".

The plea was filed by law graduate Harman Preet Singh through advocates Ashima Mandla and Mandakini Singh.

With inputs from PTI, FirstPost, ANI

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