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Farmers protest: Next Hearing to be held on 20 January

Prity Barman
Prity Barman
Rakesh Tikait
BKU Leader Rakesh Tikait

The Supreme Court said on Monday that the tractor rally on Republic Day suggested by the farmers is a matter of law and order and has to be determined by the police.

The Supreme Court also told the Centre during the hearing on a petition seeking an injunction against the tractor rally planned by the farmers that it has the entire jurisdiction to deal with the matter. SC heard a central government appeal, filed by the Delhi Police, seeking an injunction against the tractor march of the protesting farmers or any other form of demonstration 'aimed at disturbing the gathering and festivities' of Republic Day on January 26.

The first body to determine who should be permitted to enter Delhi is the police. The question of who can be permitted to enter the city [Delhi] and how many persons should be permitted to enter is a matter for the police to determine," the Supreme Court said, adding, 'We can not intervene.

The court told the center, 'We're not going to tell you what you can do. On January 20, we will take up this matter.' Does the Union of India want the Supreme Court to inform it what powers under the Police Act you have? Why do you need to be told by the court that you have authority?

The way you think we have, we didn't take care of the matter. Apparently, you [Centre] told the court that the intervention of the court was highly misguided, adding, 'It is for the police to rule on the petition for permission to demonstrate in Ramlila maidan.’

In the meantime, farmers who have been protesting against farm laws for nearly two months are firmly on conducting the planned tractor rally on Republic Day and continuing their sit-in demonstration until the agricultural laws are repealed. Leader of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) Rakesh Tikait said on Sunday that farmers are ready to demonstrate until May 2024. 'Our suggestion is that the three laws be repealed and the government provides the MSP with a legal assurance,' said Rakesh Tikait.

During the 9th round of talks on farm laws between farmers and the government, BKU leader Rakesh Tikait had said that the farmers would withdraw the tractor rally on Republic Day if directed by the Supreme Court. The farmers, however, are now firm on their stand to stage a Republic Day tractor rally.

For more than 50 days, the Supreme Court will also hear appeals on the issue of farm bills and continuing demonstrations along Delhi's borders.

Union leader Yogendra Yadav said at a press conference at the Singhu border protest site,' On Republic Day, we will hold a tractor parade on the Outer Ring Road in Delhi. This parade is going to be very peaceful.'

‘The Republic Day parade will not be interrupted. The farmers will put on their tractors the national flag,' he added.

On Sunday, ACP (Connaught Place) told media outlets,'In view of Covid-19, we are seeking to minimize the rally to 25,000 as opposed to 1.5 lakh individuals earlier. Individuals will meet coronavirus recommendations. We also limited the service to children under 15 years of age and people aged 65 years of age.'

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