Probe ‘illegitimate’ police action against farmers, students ask Supreme Court

Punjab University students write to CJI on use of tear gas, water cannons on peaceful protesters

Students of Punjab University have written to the Chief Justice of India to direct an inquiry into the “illegitimate” use of water cannons, tear gas and lathis by the Haryana Police against protesting farmers.

In an open letter to the CJI, students said an “obstinate and callous” government has resorted to violence against farmers journeying to the national capital borders to support the peaceful protests against the farm laws.

“After more than two months of peaceful protests in their home States, served with incompatible gestures of Government of India, farmers (felt marooned) decided to approach to the National Capital Delhi. The peaceful protestors (farmers) were thrashed and walloped. It seems raising voice for the fundamental rights, as provided by the Supreme Law of the Nation is a dreadful crime (which it is not),” they wrote.

‘Very disturbed’

As students who believe in the tenets of human rights, they said they were “very disturbed and disheartened” by the “execrable” manner in which the Centre is dealing with the nation’s farmers.

The students, who have annexed photographs of injured farmers, many of whom are senior citizens, said the violence spewed out against them by the police is “macabre”.

They pointed out that the police have unleashed tear gas, lathis and water cannons on the farmers braving the winter cold to express their dissent. Few of the farmers have already died, while many more have barely survived “crippling injuries” during the stand-off, the letter said.

“We believe the course of action taken by the Government of India is insensitive to understand farmers’ sentiments. Farmers in India, who consider land as their sacrosanct mother, are so much threatened, feared, and fretted that they have no way left out, but peaceful protests to showcase their pathetical vulnerability even amidst a global pandemic,” they wrote.

‘Withdraw cases’

They asked the court to direct the Haryana and Delhi Police to withdraw the cases lodged against the innocent farmers. The letter urged the court to “look into the illegal detention of protesters”.

“Direct the governments at both Central and State level to ensure safety of all protesters, and provide basic amenities for all, especially women, children and elderly. Mobile toilet vans should be provided at protest places. Issue appropriate guidelines, as the court may deem fit, regarding hygienic conditions at protest sites in the backdrop of COVID-19,” they said.

The letter said action should be taken against media channels who misrepresent the protesting farmers as separatists.

“Take action to curb fake news and against media channels, engaged in misrepresentation, polarisation and sensationalisation of the whole issue,” the letter requested.

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