Farmers protest: Section 144 imposed in Delhi; Punjab-Haryana border sealed
Delhi Police chief Sanjay Arora’s order imposing Section 144 of CrPC in the city said that it shall remain in force for 30 days unless withdrawn earlier
A day ahead of the farmers’ march to the national capital on the lines of the 2020-21 agitation,the Delhi Police on Monday invoked prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) in the entire city with immediate effect. Delhi Police chief Sanjay Arora issued an order in this regard and said it shall remain in force for 30 days unless withdrawn earlier.
“The Samyukta Kisan Morcha, the Kisan Mazdoor Morcha and several other farmers unions and associations have announced a ‘Delhi Chalo’ march on February 13, 2024, to hold protest outside the Parliament House, to press their demands. There exists a well-founded apprehension / possibility that the participants of the march may try to enter the territory of Delhi from various entry points. There is an imminent risk of widespread tension, public nuisance, public annoyance and social unrest and the potential for violence on account of the participants entering the territory of Delhi,” said the order.
The order said police have received input from intelligence agencies on serious law and order problems. It is likely that some anti-social elements/agitator groups may take advantage of the situation, it added.
It further said, “No tractor trolleys, trucks, or any other vehicles transporting individuals or materials, especially those carrying implements such as sticks/lathis/dandas, swords, spears, bludgeons, firearms, or any other thing capable of being used as weapons or tools of violence, shall be permitted entry into the territory of Delhi.”
The order has prohibited assembly of five or more persons and carrying out processions and rallies anywhere in the city. He said, “There shall be an absolute prohibition on the organisation, convening, or participation in any processions, demonstrations, rallies, or march on foot, where for political, social, or any other purpose, within the geographical limits of Delhi/New Delhi.”
The police chief also imposed a ban with immediate effect on carrying corrosive substances, explosives, firearms, or any lethal weapons or articles capable of being used as a weapon of offence or defence at any public place in the city. Similarly, there is a complete prohibition on collecting or carrying brickbats, bounders, acids, or any dangerous fluid, petrol, soda water bottles, or any article capable of use for causing danger in any form to human life and safety.
Through his order, Arora has also emphasised enhanced border security measures. He mentioned that all vehicular traffic originating from the borders/pickets of adjoining districts of neighbouring states – Haryana and Uttar Pradesh – and heading towards Delhi shall be subjected to “rigorous and thorough inspection by law enforcement authorities stationed at designated checkpoints.”
“Any vehicles found to be transporting lathis, rods, banners, or similar objects likely to be used for disruptive purposes shall be denied entry into Delhi,” Arora said in his order.
The order also invoked prohibition on provocative actions or utterances. It explained that it shall be unlawful for any person, group, or organisation to disseminate, propagate, or utter any provocative slogan, speech, or message, whether through verbal, written, or electronic means, which may incite or inflame passion leading to a breach of public order and tranquility. It also banned the use of any amplifier, loudspeaker, or other similar instruments in or at any private vehicles or private building or public place unless allowed by the competent authority.
The police chief asked all residents, community leaders, and stakeholders to extend their full cooperation and support to the law enforcement agencies in the implementation of the prohibitory orders under 144 of CrPC.
“Any person contravening the provisions of this order shall be deemed to have committed an offence punishable under section 188 of Indian Penal Code (Act No 45 of 1860) and shall be liable for criminal prosecution in accordance with law,” the order said.
It, however, shall not apply to any processions or meetings organised by government, any public servant acting in the discharge of their duty, and any congregations or processions related to any weddings, funerals, or other purely religious functions, it added.
Punjab-Haryana border sealed
Meanwhile, the Ambala administration on Monday sealed key Delhi-Chandigarh highway with jersey barriers placed at Sadoupur on Ambala-Mohali border. The Haryana Police have issued traffic advisory with diversion of vehicles at Karnal and Kurukshetra. The border had been partially closed since Saturday.
People familiar with the matter said that the highways were sealed in advance in view of intelligence inputs that farmers from Punjab might move towards Delhi a day before February 13.
Meanwhile, Yamunanagar administration has imposed Section 144 in the district in view of the protests. By Sunday, 15 of 22 districts had imposed similar prohibitory orders in Haryana.
Farmers’ unions from Punjab and Haryana under the banner of Sanyukt Kisan Morcha (apolitical) and Kisan Mazdoor Morcha (KMM) will march towards the national capital via Ambala pressing for their demand for higher minimum support price (MSP). Several videos show that a huge number of tractors have started moving from different areas of Punjab towards Delhi. However, prominent farmers leaders are still in Punjab.
All eyes are on the scheduled meeting of three Union ministers with the farmers’ unions in Chandigarh on Monday evening. Their next course of action is expected to be decided based on the outcome of this meeting.