The Supreme Court on Monday said the Delhi Police should decide on the entry of protesting farmers in Delhi on Republic Day, as it heard a plea seeking an injunction against the proposed tractor rally scheduled on January 26.
Stating that it’s a law and order matter, the apex court said, “Police is first authority to decide who should be allowed to enter Delhi. We are not going to tell you what you should do. We will take up this matter on Jan 20.”
The court’s observations came during a hearing on the plea of the central government, filed though the Delhi Police, seeking an injunction against the proposed tractor march or any other kind of protest by farmers that seeks to disrupt the gathering and celebrations of Republic Day on January 26.
The farmer unions’, meanwhile, are firm on holding the rally on Republic Day. They further said protesters will not carry weapons or indulge in inflammatory speeches or violence. They also clarified that there will be no occupation or attack on any government building or area during the parade, which will see tractors start their journey from their respective position at the Delhi border and return to the same place, said a farmer leader.
“Farmers will celebrate Republic Day with huge fervour. The tractor parade will move in a circle on the Outer Ring Road, which goes around areas like Janakpuri, Munirka, Nehru Place, Tikri. We hope that Delhi and Haryana Police will not cause us any problems or restrictions. This will be a very peaceful protest since our biggest weapon is non-violence,” said Yogendra Yadav from Sanyukt Kisan Morcha.
Last week, a bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde had stayed the implementation of the new farm laws till further orders and had constituted a four-member panel to listen to the grievances and make recommendations to resolve the impasse. Claiming that negotiations between the farmers and the government had been fruitless, the court said a “committee of experts” to “negotiate between the farmers’ bodies and the Government of India may create a congenial atmosphere and improve the trust and confidence of the farmers”.
The court’s committee will include: Bhupinder Singh Mann, National President, Bhartiya Kisan Union and All India Kisan Coordination Committee; Pramod Kumar Joshi, Agricultural Economist and Director for South Asia, International Food Policy Research Institute; Ashok Gulati, Agricultural Economist and Former Chairman of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices; and Anil Ghanwat, President, Shetkari Sanghatana. They are scheduled to hold a meeting tomorrow.
So far, the government has held nine rounds of formal talks with 41 farmer unions but has failed to break the logjam as the latter have stuck to their main demand of a complete repeal of the three Acts.