Wednesday, Nov 29, 2023

Republic Day Violence: Farmer Unions Demand High-Level Judicial inquiry

Republic Day Violence: Farmer Unions Demand High-Level Judicial inquiry

Farmer unions have claimed that as many as 16 farmers who had participated in the Republic Day tractor rally are missing. They have also alleged that the Delhi Police has slapped ‘false’ cases against many protesters

Yogendra Yadav, Rakesh Tikait and other leaders of Samyukt Kisan Morcha PTI Photo/Shahbaz Khan

Farmer unions have demanded a high-level judicial inquiry on the violence which incurred during the January 26 tractor rally and the alleged "false" cases slapped on the peasants.

While addressing a conference at the Singhu border in Delhi, members of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha urged farmers not to appear before the Delhi Police directly, if they get public notices. Instead, the leaders asked the farmers to approach the legal cell constituted by the unions for any assistance.

Kuldeep Singh, a member of SKM's legal cell, said that a retired judge of the Supreme Court or high court should probe the incidents to unravel the "conspiracy" behind the January 26 violence and the alleged "false cases" against the farmers.

According to SKM leaders, 16 farmers who had participated in the tractor parade are still untraceable. In the Republic Day violence, over 500 police personnel had been injured, while a protestor had died.

On January 26, thousands of protesting farmers who reached ITO from the Ghazipur border clashed with the police. Driving tractors, many of them reached the Red Fort and entered the monument, where a religious flag was hoisted.

At the press conference, another leader Ravinder Singh said that 122 farmers had so far been arrested by Delhi Police in connection with 14 of the 44 FIRs, adding that SKM will provide legal and financial aid to all the arrested farmers.

The Morcha leaders claimed that "false" cases were being slapped on farmers charging them with serious offences like dacoity and attempt to murder to "harass" them.

"Ten farmers have been granted bail so far and five bail applications have been filed. Priority is being given to those farmers who are not booked under Section 307 of the IPC or other serious offences," the SKM said in a statement later.

Ravinder Singh said that the Morcha will provide Rs 2,000 to every arrested farmer for spending in the prison canteen.

A legal team of SKM had on Friday visited the Tihar jail where 112 farmers were currently lodged, he said.

The union leaders have requested Delhi Jal Board Vice Chairman and senior Aam Aadmi Party leader Raghav Chadha to ensure that farmers are kept in one jail.

In the statement, the SKM demanded that its legal panel be allowed to meet the arrested farmers without any restrictions and its monetary help be disbursed to them.

"The SKM legal panel has strongly condemned the Delhi government and the police for issuing notice under section 160 CrPC to the farmers in order to rope them in false cases," it stated.

Under this section, an investigating officer, by order in writing, can direct any person to present before him or her if it appears that the person is acquainted with the facts and circumstances of the case.

Thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, have been camping at three Delhi border points - Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur - for nearly 80 days, demanding a repeal of the three agri laws and a legal guarantee on minimum support price (MSP).

Meanwhile, the Delhi Police's Crime Branch on Saturday took actor-activist Deep Sidhu and another accused Iqbal Singh to Red Fort to recreate the scene of events that unfolded at the historic monument on the Republic Day during the farmer's tractor parade, a police officer said.

Sidhu, according to the police, was a "prominent player" in the violence and vandalism at the Red Fort.