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Farmers' Protest: AAP Govt Says Citizens Have Right to Protest Peacefully, Refuses to Let Delhi Police Use Stadiums as Temporary Jails

Protesting farmers jam a highway as they attempt to move towards Delhi.(AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

Protesting farmers jam a highway as they attempt to move towards Delhi.(AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

While rejecting the Delhi Police's request, Delhi Home Minister Satyendar Jain said that every Indian citizen has the constitutional right to protest peacefully for which they cannot be put in jails.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government on Friday denied permission to the Delhi Police to convert the city's stadiums into temporary jails in view of the protest by farmers against the Centre's new farm laws. While rejecting the Delhi Police's request, Delhi Home Minister Satyendar Jain said that every Indian citizen has the constitutional right to protest peacefully for which they cannot be put in jails.

In a letter to the principal home secretary, Jain said the central government should accept the demands of the protesters and added that putting farmers in jails is not the solution. Police used tear gas at the Singhu and Tikri borders to disperse protesting farmers, mainly from Punjab, as they tried to enter the national capital on Friday morning as part of their 'Delhi Chalo' march. But later in the day, after discussions with farmer leaders, the Delhi Police allowed the protesters to enter the national capital and hold peaceful demonstration at the Nirankari ground in Burari.

Jain in his letter also said that the demands of the farmers are justified. "The Centre should immediately accept demands of the farmers. Putting farmers in jail is not a solution of it. Their protest is completely non-violent. Agitating non violently is the right of every Indian.They can not be sent to the jail for this," he said. "Therefore, the Delhi government denies this application by the Delhi Police to convert stadium into jail," Jain said in the letter.

Earlier, the Delhi Police had sought permission from the AAP government to use the city's nine stadiums as temporary jails for the agitating farmers. "In view of the farmers' march, the Delhi Police has asked the Delhi government for permission to use nine stadiums as temporary jails to keep the detained or arrested farmers," a source said earlier in the day.

Delhi Police had enhanced deployment of security personnel, stationed sand-laden trucks and water cannons, and used barbed wire for fencing at the Singhu and Tikri border points (Delhi-Haryana border) to prevent the protesters from entering the city. On allowing farmers into Delhi, police PRO Eish Singhal said that "after holding discussion with farmer leaders, the protesting farmers have been permitted inside Delhi to hold peaceful protest at Nirankari Ground in Burari". "We appeal to all farmers to maintain peace," the PRO said.


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