Updated: February 6, 2021 11:14:47 am
After Sambha and Sitapur in UP, the Baghpat district administration has issued notices to leaders linked to the farmers’ protests against the Centre’s new agriculture laws, asking them to sign personal bonds worth Rs 2 lakh to “ensure peace” is maintained.
Former RLD MLA Veerpal Singh Rathi said he and six others received notices from the administration a day before they participated in a mahapanchayat in Baraut tehsil on January 31. The mahapanchayat decided that farmers from the region should move towards the Ghazipur and Singhu borders to join the farm protests outside Delhi.
“I got the notice on January 30 and came to know that such notices were issued to around 200 farmers in the district. By issuing these notices, the administration wants us to stop supporting the farmers. I attended the mahapanchayat and so did the six others who were issued notices along with me,” said Rathi.
When contacted, District Magistrate Raj Kamal Yadav said he has no knowledge about the matter. Sub-divisional Magistrate (Baraut), Durgesh Mishra, who signed the notices, declined comment.
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Additional District Magistrate Amit Kumar said: “Notices have been issued under 107/116 CrPC keeping in mind the forthcoming panchayat elections to be held in the state and other law-and-order issues. It is not related to the farmers’ protests. The process of issuing notices is still on. We have so far issued notices to 700 persons.”
Officials said the administration had issued the notices on a report submitted by police. Ajay Kumar Sharma, station officer, Baraut, said: “We requested the administration to send bonds to six persons, including Veerpal Singh Rathi, because it is suspected that they could incite people protesting over farmer laws through their speeches. There is a fear that because of their provocation, the protests could turn violent.”
The notice issued to Veerpal Singh asks him to sign a personal bond worth Rs 2 lakh and hand over two sureties of the same amount for one year to “maintain peace”. “The administration issued these notices on the apprehension that we may violate law and order. I have so far not appeared before the administration. Our silent protest over the three farms law will continue,” said Singh, who won the 2012 Assembly election from Chaprauli in Baghpat.
The ex-MLA said that he has also been called by Delhi Police to record his statement on the violence at Red Fort on Republic Day. Singh claimed his name was being “falsely dragged into that case”.
Sanjeev Chaudhary, a member of the influential Desh Khap in Baghpat, said: “The administration has issued notices to around 200 farmers who were actively supporting the protest. Notices were issued to poor farmers demanding personal bonds ranging between Rs 50,000 to Rs 2 lakh with sureties to ensure that they do not come out and get involved in the protest.”
Last month, the Allahabad High Court has sought a response from authorities in Sitapur on a PIL alleging “financial hardship” to farmers after the district administration demanded personal bonds ranging from Rs 50,000 to Rs 10 lakh from them plus sureties “on the apprehension that they may violate law and order”. In December, a similar move by the district administration in Sambhal had triggered widespread outrage.
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