Farmers can hold protest against the Central laws at Jantar Mantar with between 11 am and 5 pm every day, but no protest march will be allowed, the Delhi Police have said. The number of protesters at the site cannot exceed 206 — 200 from the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha and six persons from Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee.
They will be escorted to the location from Singhu border in buses and they have to maintain Covid appropriate behaviour and social distancing, the police said, nixing the farmers’ plans to hold a protest march from the Singhu border to Parliament.
Making it clear that there cannot be a repeat of the violence and chaos of January 26 protests, the Delhi Police, in a statement, said: “They (the farmers) have also been advised not to take out any march in view of Covid restrictions. Delhi Police has put in place extensive arrangements to ensure that the protest programme remains peaceful.”
Earlier this evening, sources said the Arvind Kejriwal government has given permission for a “Kisan Sansad” — farmers’ parliament — tomorrow at Jantar Mantar.
To facilitate the protest, the Delhi government also planned changes to its order imposing Covid restrictions under the Delhi Disaster Management Act, sources said. The DDMA guidelines do not allow any gatherings.
The Samyukt Kisan Morcha, a coalition of farmer unions from across the country formed in November 2020, had brainstormed strategy for the Kisan Sansad at Jantar Mantar.
The Kisan Sansad will be held till August 13, when parliament’s Monsoon Session ends, SKM member Dr Darshan Pal said.
“Everything will be like Parliament. There will be a Speaker, a Deputy Speaker, a tea break etc. This Parliament will surely take place,” said Manjit Singh Rai, a member of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Doaba).
The farmers, he said, will court arrest if they are stopped by the police.
“We have asked farmers to prepare themselves to be jailed for up to six months. Despite that, there is eagerness among them to go for the march,” said Raminder Patiala of SKM.
At Singhu, the police have used cement and concertina to ensure no untoward incidents take place. This indicates moves to avoid a repeat of the January 26 violence in Delhi following a farmers’ tractor rally.
Farmers have been protesting since last November 26 against the three newly enacted farm laws: Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; the Farmers Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and farm Services Act 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.
Their leaders and the Centre have held several rounds of talks but the impasse remains.