- Apprentice Lawyer
The Supreme Court of India has registered a suo motu case to examine alleged attacks by police and paramilitary forces on farmers who are protesting against the newly introduced Farm Laws at the Delhi borders.
The case was initiated based on an open letter written by students of Centre for Human Rights and Duties, Panjab University highlighting the plight of the farmers and requesting the top court's intervention.
The letter said that the farmers were forced to march to Delhi after nearly two months of peaceful protests in their home states did not yield any results. However, they were thrashed by police at the Delhi borders.
The government and biased media outlets, instead of addressing the problems of farmers, are painting the protestors as separatists, the students claim.
The letter states,
"Instead of addressing this gruesome situation, government and unconscientious overly- biased media outlets are trying to polarize the whole peaceful movement by associating it with separatism. Even after suffering brutal blows and carrying the inflicted injuries from the paramilitary forces, the farmers of India are offering and reciprocating with never ending langar or communal free kitchen and meals."
The letter has sought an inquiry into the use of water cannons, tear gas shells and lathis on the farmers by the Haryana Police. It has also prayed for directions to be issued to the Haryana and Delhi Police to withdraw all cases against farmers, which they claimed were registered under political vendetta.
Interestingly, the letter has also sought action against media channels which are engaged in misrepresentation and polarisation of the issue.
The Supreme Court is already seized of a case relating to the farmers' protests, in which the prayer is to remove the farmers from the protesting site so that there is free flow of traffic and no inconvenience to the public is caused.
While hearing that case, the Court had underscored that it will not come in the way of protesting farmers.
"Indeed the right to protest is part of a fundamental right and can as a matter of fact, be exercised subject to public order. We are of the view at this stage that the farmers’ protest should be allowed to continue without impediment and without any breach of peace either by the protesters or the police," the Court said in its order.
However, it said that it would try and find a solution to the stalemate between the farmers and the Central government by constituting a committee of agricultural experts and independent persons.