Discarding legally construed ‘fill the prison’ offer by farmers and creating free-for-all by government, will prove costly for India. By Hem Raj Jain
01 Feb 2021
In order to resolve the serious problems created by the encircling of India’s capital Delhi by hundreds of thousand of protesting farmers, the body of their 40 trade unions ‘the Samyukta Kisan Morcha’ (SKM) should have taken three measures (as mentioned at https://www.pakistanchristianpost.com/opinion-details/3755 ) namely:-
(1)- The filing of a writ petition in the Supreme Court of India (SCI) for constituting SIT (Special Investigation Team) for fixing responsibility and then for prosecuting the concerned officers of Delhi Police who (after giving permission to SKM) mischievously (alleged by SKM) allowed other trade union of farmers and other hooligans [who even hoisted Khalsa flag on Red Fort (despite Attorney General of India informing SCI that Khalistanis have infiltrated the agitating farmers) and indulged in violence at ITO etc] to disturb the peaceful tractor-parade of SKM which had been protesting peacefully since November 26 despite about 150 farmers having died in severe cold during this Dharana at the borders of Delhi.
[The SKM may be thinking that there is no point in going to the SCI because the Court is supporting the GoI on this farmer’s issue as is allegedly evident from the SCI - Committee in which the Court kept all the four members (one recused in favor of farmers) who had publicly supported the 3 controversial farm laws. But this is not a valid argument because in India the people complain maximum about police but still people don’t stop going to police]
(2)- The filing of a writ petition in the SCI for issuing direction to the government of India (GoI) to provide a proper place for protest to the agitating farmers of the SKM.
[The GoI and the SKM should understand that the place for public meetings and for Dharana (for days) are of different nature. The Dharna (sit-in) place has to be provided with proper facilities for water, electricity, latrines, toilets, food-items-supply stalls, different types of security, emergency medical facilities etc. Hence the government & the SKM should keep all these factors before granting / asking permission for such Dharna at any place]
(3)- For ensuring ID cards to all the members of these trade unions and their supporters at protest sites because these farmers have not assembled for some single day public meeting but for Dharna for many days hence the presence of any person (whether member of their trade unions or visitor) is expected to be properly regulated.
As far as the first measure of writ in the SCI for SIT, it is purely the discretion of the SKM whether it wants or not (for the reasons best known to it) to clear the stigma which the GoI has succeeded in sticking to the SKM due to violence and Khalsa flag hoisting on Red Fort on January 26 and which has been causing immense problems for the SKM due to loss of its credibility & reputation in the eyes of the people all across India and even in foreign countries.
But as far as the proper protest sites and the ID cards to everyone at protest sites are concerned these are the matters which are the legal responsibility of the GoI. Regarding protest site, the SKM is entitled to demand such a site within Delhi but the SKM can’t say that it will go to Jantar - Mantar or Boat club (where in 1988 hundreds of thousands of farmers were there for Dharna) or Ram Lila Maidan or any other chosen place. The GoI is perfectly within its rights to allocate a place anywhere in Delhi where the police and administration can properly manage such Dharna by hundreds of thousands of protesters (including women & children).
If the SKM says that it does not accept the GoI - offered place for protest and either it insist on going forward to their chosen-place or stays at a palace on way to their chosen-place in Delhi etc then the police is legally expected to arrest such protesters at the same time the farmers are also legally expected to offer the arrest in a ‘Jail Bharo Andolan’ (fill the prison movement). But in no case the agitating farmers can be allowed to sit-in at any place they like especially when in present case they are causing immense hardship to other citizens of such areas where these farmers (without proper sanitation, latrines, urinals etc) are carrying out Dharnas and due to such Dharnas not merely their access roads but even internet facility of these area are hampered / disconnected which is causing extreme hardship to the residents of these areas.
As far as the membership or visitor ID cards to all the persons at protest sites, it is nothing short of a scandal the way the GoI has allowed anyone to remain or go to existing Dharna sites. It is all the more scandalous given the fact that even the Attorney General of India has informed the SCI that criminal elements and even the Khalistanis have infiltrated the agitating farmers.
Therefore it is legally expected that the government of India (i)- Should immediately arrest all the farmers (in legally construed ‘Jail Bharo Andolan’ offered by the farmers) at unauthorized Dharna sites and (ii)- Should ensure that all the persons at Dharna site (if farmers agree for Dharna at the site offered by the GoI) to wear ID cards (membership or visitor). Otherwise any dereliction on these accounts on the part of the government (which has created free-for-all), will prove costly to India.