Farmers’ protest: Delhi govt rejects police request to convert stadiums into temporary prisons
The Delhi government denied police permission to convert nine stadiums in the city into temporary detention centres in light of the farmers’ agitation on Friday.
A senior police officer aware of the development, who wished not to be named, said they had sought permission from the home department to convert nine stadiums into temporary jails to detain the farmers. “Looking at the situation at the borders, we think we will require such places to keep the detainees,” the officer added.
However, the letter signed by Delhi home minister Satyendar Jain read, “The farmers’ demands are valid. The central government should agree to their demands immediately. Detaining farmers is not the solution. Peaceful protest is the constitutional right of every Indian. They cannot be jailed for that. That’s why Delhi government is rejecting the permission sought by Delhi Police to convert stadiums into jails.”
The letter denying permission has been sent to Delhi Police, said government officials.
Groups of farmers reached Delhi’s Tikri border on Friday morning after which the Delhi Police had to resort to firing tear gas shells on them. While at least 105 farmers were detained on Thursday, the number is expected to rise with more farmer groups reaching Delhi on Friday.
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Earlier in the day, senior Aam Aadmi Party leader Raghav Chadha had urged the Delhi government to deny permission. “The farmer of our country is neither a criminal nor a terrorist. Right to protest peacefully is enshrined in Indian Constitution - Article 19(1) and protests are the hallmark of a free, democratic society,” he had tweeted.
On Friday, about 10 tear gas shells were fired at farmers around 9am as they approached the barbed barricades set up by the Delhi Police at the Singhu border that connects Narela to Sonepat in Haryana.
The police action meant that the farmers couldn’t enter Delhi.
On Thursday, the police had detained about 105 farmers from Jantar Mantar and Majnu Ka Tilla for managing to enter the city and begin their demonstrations. They were all booked.