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29 Nov 2020

PUDR condemns the Haryana Government and the Police for filing cases against farmers protesting against the three farmers and Electricity Act.  As per various news reports, Haryana Police have registered cases at Sadar Ambala PS, Baldev Nagar Ambala PS and Dabwali PS against Bhartiya Kisan Union and other farmers' organizations for allegedly breaking police checkpoints and entering Haryana during the 'Delhi chalo' campaign. The cases have been registered against the farmers on the basis of drone camera footage and recordings of them allegedly breaking roadblocks, pelting stones at police and police vehicles, and obstructing personnel on government duty.

According to the Sadar Ambala Police officials present at the Shambu border, unidentified farmer leaders and farmers along with their associates carried out deadly attacks on the police with tractor-trolleys and violated government orders. The police have registered a case under various sections such as 147 (rioting), 149 (unlawful assembly), 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant ) 269 / 270 (act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life), 307 (attempt to murder), 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty), 353 (causing grievous hurt) IPC, (damage to public property).

Similar charges have been filed by the Police at the Baldev Nagar PS along with the additional sections 427 (mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees) and 279 (rash driving or riding on a public way) alleging that the mob of farmers forcibly entered from Punjab, damaging barricades, chains and barbed wire. The Dabwali PS has also registered a case against 10-12 thousand unnamed farmers who broke through the police check post at Punjab-Haryana border here yesterday and forcibly marched towards Delhi. The FIR has been filed under the Epidemic Act, Disruption of Government Work, 147/149/186/188/332/353/427 and Prevention of Damage to Government Property Act.

PUDR also questions the entire process of framing, and passing of these acts, first through ordinances and then violating all the norms in Parliament. At no stage, had the Central Government considered it necessary to seek the views of the main stakeholders such as farmers and their organisations and traders registered with the Mandi boards. The entire functioning of the government taking the ordinances route without any critical evaluation, and using the health emergency created by COVID-19 as a pretext, poses a threat to democracy, federalism, and pluralism in the country.

PUDR condemns these draconian moves and demands an immediate stop to repressive measures by the Police such as the use of tear gas & water cannons against protesting farmers. It also demands filing of cases against senior police and civil officers who ordered such actions against peaceful farmers, created hurdles by destroying public roads and public property at large scale and used concertina wires to stop the famers from marching.

PUDR requests the Punjab & Haryana and Delhi High courts to take notice of damage of public property by Haryana and Delhi police and recover all costs of damages from police and civil officers of the concerned states, who ordered such actions.

Vikas Kumar & Radhika Chitkara