Some posters, ostensibly put up by Delhi Police at the Tikri border, declaring the gathering of farmers as illegal and asking them to disperse has created a flutter at the protest site, even as the force claimed these were not new and only informed the protesters that they would not be allowed to enter the national capital.
Titled a ‘legal warning’ by the SHO of Mundka police station, the posters, in Hindi and Punjabi, read: “Your gathering has been declared against the law. You are warned to disperse this gathering otherwise disciplinary action as per law will be taken against you.”
The farmers claim that the posters came up in the area on Monday afternoon.
In a statement, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha, the umbrella body of farmer unions spearheading the agitation against the agri laws, said that it is opposed to the police’s move as the protesters were exercising their constitutional right and appealed to the farmers to continue their sit-in peacefully.
“The Delhi Police has placed some posters at the Tikri border protest site where farmers have been warned that they will have to vacate the area. Such posters are irrelevant as farmers have been staging a peaceful protest by exercising their constitutional rights….We will oppose the conspiracy to end the protest with these kinds of threats and warnings,” the SKM said in the statement.
Shingara Singh Mann, senior vice-president of BKU (Ugrahan), told The Indian Express: “We aren’t bothered; farmers are firm and we will not budge. Our dharnas will go on until the laws are repealed.”
He added, “The notice came up after Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar said ‘crowds don’t lead to revocation of laws’. We have held 12 round of talks with Centre and he had earlier congratulated us for maintaining peace and keeping this dharna apolitical. He used to call it `kisan andolan’ during our meetings; now we are a crowd.”
Contacted by Indian Express, an area police officer claimed no such posters had been put up by them but did not elaborate. The DCP and additional DCP concerned did not respond to calls or messages seeking a comment.
However, PTI quoted a senior Delhi Police officer as saying that it is a “routine” process.
“The posters were pasted at the border area after the protest started. It is a routine exercise. Police have conveyed to them through posters that they are sitting in the jurisdiction of Haryana and they are not allowed to enter the national capital unlawfully,” PTI quoted the officer as saying.
Meanwhile, Jagmohan Singh Patiala, general secretary of BKU Dakaunda and member of the SKM, told The Indian Express, “A few posters have come up near the Tikri dharna site warning us to vacate. We are doing a peaceful protest using our fundamental rights.” He too linked the poster to Tomar’s remarks.
Dr Dashan Pal, president of the Krantikari Kisan Union and also member of the SKM, said, “We strongly condemn such actions. Farmers have been protesting in a peaceful manner at the borders for 90 days and we will continue to protest till our demands are met. We are not even sitting inside Delhi.”