The news of the farmers' protests in Haryana has been spreading like wildfire. These protests have been carried out by farmers from Punjab and Haryana agitating against bills on food and agriculture reforms that have been brought by the Union Government. Recently, some Jane Doe persons have started attending these protests camouflaged as policemen. These camouflaged “officials” have resorted to attacks of violence on the farmers participating in the protest.
In the wake of a recent attack, a plea has been filed in the Punjab & Haryana High court urging all police officials of all ranks to wear uniforms while they are on law and order duty, especially during protests or agitations.
The Parliament (Lok Sabha), introduced several bills with regards to food and agriculture that would severely impact the farmers.
The bills that were introduced were The Framer’s Produce Trade And Commerce(Promotion And Facilitation) Bill, The Farmers(Empowerment And Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill were introduced in parliament on Monday i.e. the September 14th, 2020.
In retaliation, the farmers have expressed their concerns that these bills would give way to dismantle the MSP i.e. the Minimum Support Price. This would ultimately leave the farmers at the “mercy” of the big corporates.
In this respect, the Haryana Progressive Farmers Union filed a plea in the Punjab and Haryana HC requiring the police officials to be in uniform and badge while on duty. The petitioners have cited the landmark judgment of ‘DK Basu v State of West Bengal’ in their case.
The plea filed through Advocates Pardeep Kumar Rapriaand Parveen Kumar reads, “The facts and circumstances of the present case would reveal the aforesaid DK Basu Guidelines need to be implemented by police while discharging duties of maintaining law and order during protests/agitations by citizens”
With respect to the recent attack on the farmers, the plea elaborates that on September 10th, 2020, a few people with disclosed identities in police uniforms and some without the uniform committed lathi charge. This resulted in several people, including senior citizens being severely injured
Consequently, the Haryana Minister of Home stated that “no lathi charge took place anywhere” and, “No orders were passed to use force on farmers” in his statement
The petition further states, “the general public at large; including the petitioner was shocked to know that actually the attackers on farmers were not policemen.” After the attack, the MP/MLAs, which also included the Haryana Deputy Chief Minister were strongly against the violence on the farmers. They further demanded an investigation in the matter.
The plea submitted that all the protests are at a stand-still because of the unfolding of recent events. The plea also asks the state to take immediate action, so as not let some “anti-social elements” lead to “culminating into the butchering of the fundamental rights of farmers and also the law-abiding policemen”