CDRO strongly condemns the continuing targeting and intimidation of the farmers’ protests/ foisting false cases against farmers’ leaders and arrest of protesting farmers
26th January 2021 will go down in history as a landmark day in the history of independent India. It is not yet another Republic Day because farmers decided to celebrate the adoption of the Constitution of India among the people, and against the Farm Bills introduced by the Central Government. lakh’s of farmers, workers, students, women, and democratic-minded citizens across the states of India decided to mark the event through peaceful tractor parades, rallies and marches. As the major concentration of the farmer protests had been sitting around the borders of Delhi, the protestors had sought permission to take out this people’s parade in Delhi as well.
On the morning of 26th January, lakhs of farmers had gathered in the borders of Delhi and took part in tractor parade along the prescribed route under the leadership of SKM. The Delhi Police had delayed permissions, and the routes were changed late on the night of 25th January without consultations with the protestors. Even despite the permission, the Delhi police tried all methods to disrupt the rallies and prevent the tractor parade. Police and paramilitary forces had been deployed in full force, all major roads of Delhi were closed off with barricades, causing the parade to splinter off. Thousands of protestors, who had come from Punjab only to join the parade, were left to wander the roads the Delhi with all major roads shut off and no clear directions from the police. On the other end, a small number of farmers were allowed passage to the ITO and Red Fort area. The Delhi Police, through deliberate mismanagement of the law and order situation, created a situation of chaos to disrupt the farmers’ rallies, which had otherwise been sitting on peaceful and well-coordinated protests since 25th November 2020.
The Godi media and the Government spokespersons took up the opportunity of this ensuing chaos, and for the entire day we heard in all the media bytes that how the farmers had created violence. These people conveniently forgot how all senior leaders of the SKM like had clarified in their TV channels that the farmers of their organisations had followed the agreed plan and had stressed that the parades had mostly been orderly and was received with enthusiasm by the local public. They had explained how a small group of farmers got misled by a few provocateurs leading to the trouble. It is also the fact that they had condemned the violence in no uncertain term.
Instead, the government had tried to discredit an exemplary peoples’ movement and tried to implicate 40 farmer leaders under different false cases including an attempt to murder. The cases lodged against them include those under IPC Sections 162, 269, 308, 307, 427. The police have also arrested more than 200 people. In addition, the power supply of Ghazipur Morcha has also been cut off, and the langar at Karnal Toll Plaza has also been forcefully shut down. At the time of writing this statement, the government seems to be hatching a conspiracy through its agents in creating a situation to violently attack the peaceful protest of farmers. All these incidents occur at a time when the NIA secretly registered under an FIR on 15 December 2020 under the UAPA, conspiracy and sedition against protestors, following which hundreds of protestors and leaders of the farmers’ struggle have been held for interrogations over the last month.
Why did these farmers brave the cold Delhi weather, initial harsh treatment by the police including facing water cannon, stay put in Delhi? This is because the Central Government had introduced three farm bills that would have put the farming community, especially the small and middle peasantry, into disarray and meek submission in front of corporate giants. After several rounds of negotiations failed with the government adamant in not changing its position, the farmers’ organisation led by Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) had to take up the tractor parade plan. The day chosen by them is very apt because it is Republic Day. True to the meaning of the phrase “res publica”, the farmers wanted to showcase the importance of people in executingany issue related to the public affair.
Ignoring the efforts of the leaders of the struggle to carry out the tractor parade as per the prescribed route, the registration of cases by the police against the peasant leaders shows that instead of taking the approach of resolving the issue, the arrogant government chose to make use of these as excuses to suppress the struggle.
Filing of these cases shows the sheer desperation of the Modi government to discredit the democratic rights of the peoples’ peaceful struggle. CDRO warns that the government must learn from history that any attempt to discredit the legitimate people’s struggle through false rumours, false cases and ploys can never succeed. CDRO firmly believes that this attempt of the Central Government will further strengthen the movement of strugglingfarmers. CDRO appeals to all citizens to demonstrate unity with the farmer movement as this movement is also for security of food for every citizen.
CDRO demands that:
- The three anti-people Farm Laws and the Electricity Bill must be repealed without delay.
- The government must engage in discussion with the farmers’ unions and agricultural experts with an open mind and thereby uphold the democratic principle of consultation with all stakeholders before formulating any new law.
- Withdraw all cases against protestors, including the NIA FIR dt.15 December 2020; release more than 200 protestors arrested for the Republic Day rally; and immediately cease the harassment and intimidation of the farmers’ protests.
K.Kranthi Chaitanya, Prit Pal Singh, Tapas Chakraborty and V. Raghunath(Coordinators of CDRO)
CO-ORDINATION OF DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS ORGANISATION(CDRO)
Constituent Organisations: Association for Democratic Rights (AFDR, Punjab), Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR, West Bengal); Asansol Civil Rights Association, West Bengal; Bandi Mukti Committee (West Bengal); Civil Liberties Committee (Andhra Pradesh); Civil Liberties Committee (Telangana); Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights (Maharashtra); Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights (CPDR TamilNadu); Coordination for Human Rights (Manipur); Manab Adhikar Sangram Samiti (Assam); Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights ; Peoples’ Committee for Human Rights (Jammu and Kashmir); Peoples Democratic Forum (Karnataka); Jharkhand Council for Democratic Rights (Jharkhand); Peoples Union For Democratic Rights (Delhi); Peoples Union for Civil Rights (Hariyana), Campaign for Peace &amp; Democracy in Manipur, Delhi; Janhastakshep (Delhi)