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Thursday, September 23, 2021

Red Fort violence: Punjab House panel wants free legal aid, compensation for booked farmers

This move comes at a juncture when a fresh round of tussle has broken out between the Delhi government and L-G Anil Baijal over the Red Fort violence cases.

Written by Kanchan Vasdev | Chandigarh |
Updated: July 31, 2021 10:37:40 am
Delhi High court on detained protesters, R-day violence FIRs, Delhi Police, Delhi farmers protests, Farm Laws, Delhi news, India news, Indian expressFarmers remove police barricades set up near the Red Fort during the 'Kisan Gantantra Parade' amid the 72nd Republic Day celebrations, in New Delhi. (PTI)

SIX MONTHS after Delhi and Haryana Police booked farmers in the aftermath of the Red Fort violence on the Republic Day, a Vidhan Sabha committee set up by the Punjab government to look into the matter has reached a conclusion that the “protesting farmers were falsely implicated, tortured, and needed free legal aid, compensation.”

After meeting 70 farmers from across the state, the committee led by MLA Kuldip Singh Vaid, has said that the “government will provide free legal aid to the farmers as many of them cannot afford it and also compensation for the torture they have undergone at the hands of Delhi and Haryana Police”.

This move comes at a juncture when a fresh round of tussle has broken out between the Delhi government and L-G Anil Baijal over the Red Fort violence cases. The L-G had recently rejected a panel of lawyers constituted by the Delhi government to appear in these cases, a move that Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal termed as an insult to the people of Delhi.

Meanwhile, Vaid, while speaking to The Indian Express, said, “We met 10-odd farmers today and by now have met about 70 farmers. We have come to a conclusion that these people were rounded up when they were headed to Tikri border to participate in tractor rally, and arrested. Someone was supplying milk to the agitating farmers and the other was supplying ration. They told us that the police asked them if they were headed to Tikri border and when they responded affirmative they were picked up. They were tortured badly with sticks. Their stories are very moving. They have gone through a lot.”

Vaid added that they will provide the report to the government in 10 days and recommend that these farmers should be given free legal aid and also compensation. The government should decide on the compensation, he said.

The committee has five members — Congress MLAs Kulbir Singh Zira, and Fateh Jung Singh Bajwa, AAP MLA Sarvjit Kaur Manuke, SAD MLA Harinderpal Singh Chandumajra.

Vaid pointed out that after being booked in different cases, the farmers were bailed out and are now being tried. “They do not know which lawyer to go to. We will now recommend to the government that we should provide them legal aid,” he said.

The Vidhan Sabha committee was constituted by the government after a demand by MLAs that the government should come up to help the Punjabi farmers who were part of the protest and allegedly beaten up and tortured.

Vaid said they have been working on preparing a report very fast after going to various districts to meet the farmers.


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