Statement of Lok Raj Sangathan, 11 August 2015: Jai Kisan Abhiyan was launched by Swaraj Abhiyan in which hundreds of farmers and concerned people joined a tractor march from Thikriwal village of Barnala District of Punjab to Delhi through Haryana and UP. The tractor march reached Delhi border on Sunday, 9th August 2015 at Kapasheda. Delhi police denied them permission to drive the tractors inside Delhi so hundreds of the demonstrators had to walk on foot to Jantar Mantar where a rally was organised on 10th August to highlight the plight of the farmers. After the rally in Jantar Mantar, the demonstrators wanted to send a delegation of 20 women who had come from Maharashtra to take kalashs containing soil from thousands of villages across India to Race Course area. They want a memorial to be built for the country to remember the 300,000 farmers who have been forced to commit suicide.
The Delhi police has been trying to prevent this demonstration and rally from taking place. Apart from the fact that they didn’t allow tractors to come into Delhi, they attacked the Jai Kisan Abhiyan as it was walking from Kapasheda to Jantar Mantar. Six youth including one young woman were injured in this attack. The police action was so severe that several of the youth had broken bones. After the rally, police did not allow the women to carry out a symbolic act of placing the kalashs filled with soil to in the Race Course ground. Police gave the excuse that there was no permission taken for this. It may be pointed out that if traffic is not being obstructed there is no need for people to take permission for peacefully doing something like this. When the police did not allow them, the demonstrators decided to stay back in Jantar Mantar till the time the police gave them permission to carry out their symbolic action. However, police again attacked the demonstrators. Many of the demonstrators had to be hospitalised for treatment. Subsequently, the police apprehended and 80 to 90 of the demonstrators, including Shri Yogendra Yadav who is leading the abhiyan and Shri Pankaj Pushkar (MLA) and manhandled them. They were pushed around and slapped. They were also threatened with dire consequences and were not even told why they were being apprehended.
The behaviour of the police is highly condemnable. Citizens have every right to peacefully demonstrate and make their demands public. Clearly, the police action has been to throttle this democratic right of the people. Lok Raj Sangathan expresses its anger at the action of the police and demands that police immediately release the demonstrators, appologise for their brutal attack and refrain from any further attacks on peaceful demonstrators.
It is likely that Delhi police acted in this manner because of orders from higher authorities in the government. Lok Raj Sangathan demands that those who are responsible for police to act in the above manner come out and publically explain why, in their view, peaceful protest of the farmers and activists and leaders of Jai Kisan Abhiyan who were highlighting the terrible plight of the farmers in India, cannot be allowed.