The Centre on Monday informed Lok Sabha that 39 cases were registered against the farmers who were protesting demanding the repeal of three Agricultural Laws between September to December 2020.
The three laws are: Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 and Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020. The Delhi police informed the Ministry of Home Affairs that farmers "used force and aggressively indulged in rioting."
Questions were raised by Congress MPs K Muraleedharan, Kumbakudi Sudhakaran, Balubhau alias Suresh Narayan Dhanorkar and Mohammed Faizal, who asked “whether any case has been registered against the farmers protesting the recently passed ‘Farm Laws’ between September to December, 2020 at Delhi border.” They also asked for “the reasons for use of tear gas and resorting to Lathi charge against protesting farmers by the Delhi Police,” and if the government is aware of the number of farmers who “died or committed suicide in protest at the Delhi border.”
In response, G Kishan Reddy, Minister of State Home Affairs, said, “So far as NCT of Delhi is concerned, Delhi Police has informed that 39 cases have been registered against the farmers protesting the recently passed ‘Farm Laws’ between September to December, 2020 at Delhi border.”
The Delhi Police also informed the Home Ministry that one suicide case has been reported to them during the protest against Farm Laws at the Delhi border.
Justifying the lathi-charge and use of teargas on farmers, Reddy said, “As regards use of tear gas and resorting to Lathi charge against protesting farmers by the Delhi Police, it has been reported by Delhi Police that at Delhi border, large convoys of protesting farmers in tractor trolleys tried to furiously force their way and go past police barricades to enter Delhi to mark their protest against the recently enacted ‘farm laws’.”
Calling the act aggressive, the MoS said, “They aggressively resorted to rioting, damage to government property and used criminal force to deter public servants from the discharge of their duty, thereby inflicting injuries to the on-duty police personnel.”
“the social distancing was not followed by the farmers, protestors and they gathered in large numbers without face masks amid Covid-19 pandemic. The farmers’ actions left the Delhi Police with no option but to use tear gas, water cannons and mild force to control the crowd,” Reddy added.
He explained that 'public order' and 'police' are State subjects as per the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution of India. The responsibilities of maintaining law and order, including investigation, registration/ prosecution of crimes, conviction of accused, protection of life and property etc. rest primarily with the respective state governments. Central government keeps a constant watch on the internal security scenario of the country through its security agencies and responds appropriately to the emergent situation.
Among other measures, alerts and advisories are issued to the law enforcement agencies whenever any threat to internal security is perceived. The Central Government also provides Central Armed Police Forces to the States/Union Territories upon request.