Haryana: 100 farmers charged with sedition for attacking official's car
The Haryana Police has charged over 100 farmers with sedition for allegedly attacking the official vehicle of Deputy Speaker Ranbir Gangwa during a weekend protest. On Sunday, the protesters had held demonstrations in the Sirsa district against Haryana's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party-Jannayak Janata Party (BJP-JJP) alliance. The development comes on the day that the Supreme Court had questioned the central government's sedition laws.
FIR names Harcharan Singh, Prahlad Singh
Over 100 farmers in Haryana were charged with sedition for allegedly attacking and damaging Gangwa's official vehicle during Sunday's farmers' protest, NDTV reported. The FIR was reportedly filed the same day, naming Harcharan Singh and Prahlad Singh (two prominent leaders in the farmers' movement against three contentious agricultural laws). The report said that the farmers have also been charged with an "attempt to murder."
Charges false, frivolous, cooked up: Farmers' body
The Samyukt Kisan Morcha—a union of farmers leading protests—said that the charges were "false, frivolous and cooked up," adding that they will be challenged in court. "Farmer leaders Harcharan Singh and Prahlad Singh and around 100 farmers have been booked under false cases...with grave charges of sedition...merely because they were protesting against Haryana Deputy Speaker in Sirsa," the statement said.
India's sedition law colonial: Supreme Court
Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court had described India's sedition law as "colonial," asking the Centre if the law was "still necessary after 75 years of Independence." A bench led by Chief Justice of India NV Ramana had noted, "If a police officer wants to fix anybody in a village for something, he can use Section 124 A...People are scared."
Recent farmers' protests ended in clashes
Meanwhile, farmers protesting in the state expressed their displeasure with the way authorities have handled demonstrations in recent days. Recent protests in Fatehabad, Jhajjar, Hisar, and Yamunanagar had led to clashes with the police. The protesting farmers have said that they will not allow members of Haryana's "anti-farmer" BJP-JJP government to address any public events while their demands go unmet.
Won't be good to cross limit: Haryana CM last month
Last month, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar had said sternly that while the administration is trying to keep its calm, "it won't be good for anyone to cross their limit." "We have maintained patience but they keep threatening us...that Chief Minister, Deputy Chief Minister can't visit villages. Those running the government have a responsibility to meet people," he had said.
Farmers protests continue as talks with government fail
For a year, farmers have been protesting against three farms laws that they say will leave them at the mercy of large corporates. Several rounds of talks have remained inconclusive, even as widespread protests broke out amid the pandemic. Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar invited farmers for further talks this month, however, he maintained that the laws will not be scrapped.