Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Farmers’ protest: Plea in Supreme Court seeks directions to Centre to consider farmers’ demands, allow march to Delhi, removing curbs on free speech

A plea has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking directions to the Centre to consider the demands of the agitating farmers, who are protesting near the Punjab-Haryana border, and allow them to march to Delhi among other prayers.

The petition moved by Agnostos Theos, managing director of the Sikh Chamber of Commerce, seeks to invoke the Court’s civil original jurisdiction under Article 32 of the Constitution.

The petition also sought directions to the central government and other state governments to ensure fair and respectful treatment of farmers, to ensure free movement of people and vehicles across the border of Delhi. Additionally, the plea also called for a report of the National Human Right Commission after an inquiry on the human rights violations by police force in their assault on farmers.  

The petition further sought direction to the governments to stop all violence against the protesters and remove all arricading and fortification like LRAD, iron spikes etc. It added that relevant authorities should be directed to file criminal cases for threats and violence against farmers and the damage caused to public property by different forces and agencies. 

In addition, the petition also sought directions to authorities to unblock social media accounts suspended for posting on farmers’ protests. It also asked for immediate action against those defaming farmers and Sikhs. The plea asked the top court to protect farmers from any coercive action. 

The petition asserted that the Centre and the state governments have issued threats to people participating in the protest, fortifying the borders of the state around Delhi, with iron spikes, concrete walls to ensure the farmers are not able to enter the capital.

It added that the farmers who were willing to join the protest were forcefully arrested and detained by the state government in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, and were also sent to other states, just to avoid them meeting the protesting farmers. 

The plea said, “The governments, have employed aggressive and violent measures like usage of tear gas, rubber bullet pellets, expired shells etc., against peacefully protesting farmers, leading to serious and grievous injuries among the farmers, who lacking any assistance or aid from the respondent, are underresourced and understaffed with medical practitioners to help treat those serious injuries, resulting in permanent injuries, and in some cases death of the farmers thus injured, due to the actions of the police authorities under orders by the Respondent government.”

The petitioner said, “The actions taken by the respondent governments by creating fortification across the borders of the national capital, creating hostile and
violent situations against its own peaceful citizens and not allowing the farmers to exercise their democratic right, has led to direct and indirect defamation of the intentions and the objective of the protesting farmers. The peaceful farmers have been subject to conditions similar to terrorists by their own government, simply for the exercise of their democratic and constitutional rights.”


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