Meanwhile, days after notices were sent by the Sub-Divisional Magistrate in UP's Sambhal asking farm leaders to submit personal bonds of Rs 50 lakh each to prevent them from “inciting” farmers to join the protests against the Centre's new laws, police Thursday claimed the amount was “a clerical error” and will be reduced. But leaders said the notice itself is a means to “throttle democratic protest”. The notices for Rs 50 lakh each were sent to six leaders in Sambhal, mainly office-bearers of Bhartiya Kisan Union (Asli).
The apex court was hearing a batch of petitions seeking the removal of farmers protesting at the borders of Delhi. The court said it recognises the fundamental right to protest against a law, but, at the same time, that cannot affect other fundamental rights or right to life of others, reported Live Law. "We recognise that the farmers have a right to protest. But we are on the mode of protesting. We will ask the Union what can be done to alter the nature of protesting which will ensure that rights of others are not affected," the court said.
Another farmer from Punjab was found dead near the Tikri border near Delhi on Thursday morning, PTI quoted a police official as saying. Around 20 farmers, many of them are from Punjab, have so far died either of natural causes or in road accidents, the BKU (Ekta Ugrahan) leader said.
As the farmers' protests against the three new farm laws at the Delhi border enters Day 22, the standoff between the protesting farmers and the government seems headed towards a Shaheen Bagh-like gridlock. The three weeks of farmers' stir has got the ruling BJP to plan public meetings across the country. Taking a leaf from its CAA playbook, the party is getting its senior ministers and leaders to hold meetings with 'pro-farm laws farmers' groups to signal that the demand for repeal of the laws does not reflect a national farmer sentiment.
Meanwhile, more than 20 people have died in past three week duration of the stir, say the protesters. The deceased, many of whom are from Punjab, died either of natural causes ostensibly aggravated by the harsh weather, or in road accidents, the protesters say. Farmer organisations at Singhu and Tikri say they are now preparing lists of these persons to help their families and will press for compensation. Meanwhile, family members of farmers who died by suicide in Punjab over the years joined the ongoing protest at Delhi’s Tikri border Wednesday, with a few widows and mothers of the deceased farmers saying that they intend to remain at the site for the duration of the protest.
In other news, a Sikh priest from a gurdwara in Karnal district of Haryana, identified as Sant Baba Ram Singh (65), reportedly shot himself at Kundli, near the Singhu border where farmers have been protesting for the past 20 days, on Wednesday.
In a purported suicide note, Singh, also known as Nanaksar Singhra Wale, said he was pained by the plight of farmers.
While Singh is reported to have shot himself with his licensed revolver, Kundli police station SHO Ravi Kumar said they were yet to ascertain the weapon used. “His associates have given a statement to the police that he died by suicide. Our probe is on,” he said.