Delhi Police cracks down on MPs, MLA sitting on farmer solidarity protest at Jantar Mantar

Police action comes after Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi visited their party colleagues at the site, and also accused the government of being anti farmer

protesting MLA
Image: Karuna John / SabrangIndia

In one of its first aggressive actions since the farmers protest reached the national Capital, Delhi Police has physically removed the group of senior Punjab politicians, all belonging to the Congress, from their protest site at Jantar Mantar. According to Congress members, their leaders Ravneet Bittu, Gurjeet S Aujla and Kulbir Singh Zira were “arrested by the Delhi Police for raising their voice against the anti farmers laws.”



Delhi Police’s crackdown on these politicians, who are elected Members of Parliament, and of the Punjab Legislative Assembly, came soon after they were visited by Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra today, January 15. The MPs and MLAs from Punjab, have been sitting on a dharna on the footpath next to the Jantar Mantar monument for nearly 40 days now. MLA Zira has been on a hunger strike everyday, eating one meal at night. He and a few others sleep on the footpath, and have continued their protest peacefully, in support of the lakhs of farmers who are protesting on Delhi’s borders. 

These MPs and MLAs have been demanding that the Winter Session of Parliament be held, and the three Farm Laws kept in abeyance till then. Most of them are sons of farmers, and have said they chose to sit here in the heart of the city, and keep away from the main protest to maintain its  apolitical sanctity.  Jasbir Singh Gill, Member of Parliament (MP) to the 17th Lok Sabha from Khadoor Sahib, Punjab, as well as Kulbir Singh, a Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) along with Ravneet Bittu, and Gurjeet S Aujla  were the first politicians to sit on a protest in support of the farmers protesting the three Farm Laws.  

In the day, they were often visited by supporters and party colleagues. At night family members would bring food and additional blankets as needed. Zira had told SabrangIndia earlier that  he had been shaken by the deaths of the farmers on Delhi’s borders, and that of the young soldier who was killed in action, and his father was at the protest in Delhi. 

The Jantar Mantar protest continued peacefully well over a month, and the politicians braved the cold wave conditions and stayed put. On Friday, they had the most high profile visit of all. Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra joined the party’s protest march at Jantar Mantar in support of the farmers agitating against the three agricultural laws. Ravneet Bittu and others at the protest began sharing videos of the interaction from the dharna.



As expected Rahul Gandhi told the media that  Prime Minister Narendra Modi didn’t respect the farmers and that the three Farm Laws were brought in to benefit the corporates. He said that the crisis now seen has been in the making for years. He added that farmers had understood the government’s intent and will continue the agitation. 

“The laws will have to be repealed. This is India, India does not retear. PM Modi needs to understand this,” he said, adding this was an “attack on farmers”. He said the farmers agitation will intensify here on.

The Gandhis and their colleagues from the Delhi Congress had earlier held a  protest outside the Delhi Lt Governor’s residence at Civil Lines, as a part of the countrywide agitation. However, the police action that followed their visit to the small protest at Jantar Mantar is not to be taken lightly. “If the police can behave this way with MPs and MLAs, imagine what they will do to the ordinary farmer sitting in protest. This is the message they want to send,” said a protestor who did not want to be identified.

Another tweeted: “Abki baar atyachaari sarkaar!…  jab jab modi darta hai police ko aage karta hai! You condemn about capitol hill DC violence and orchestrate the same in New Delhi!”



The Congress held protests on Friday as a part of its “Speak Up For Kisan Adhikar” campaign. The party observed Kisan Adhikar Divas (Farmers’ Rights Day), and reportedly held similar protests across the country.

Speaking at Jantar Mantar, Rahul Gandhi said: “The government will have to withdraw the farm laws… The Narendra Modi government earlier tried to take away the land of farmers,it brought the land acquisition Act”. He said even the PM was helpless in the hands of the corporates who “controlled him”.  Priyanka Gandhi Vadra added that it was becoming clearer that this was not “just a farmers’ protest, but had turned into a people’s movement.

According to news reports it was on January 9, at a virtual meeting that Congress leaders decided to launch a massive campaign against the  three contentious laws are Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020. 

Congress chief Rahul Gandhi on Friday alleged that the Narendra Modi government was being “remote controlled” by a handful of corporates and cited the three farm laws as an example that helped the corporates. He told the media at Jantar Mantar, that the Supreme Court-appointed expert committee was “‘maya” an illusion  that will be busted soon. He said the government was meeting the farmers regularly to “tire them out”.  However the farmers, he said, had seen through that plan and the rest of the country will understand it too.  “Narendra Modi may be Prime Minister but the government is run by somebody else. It is being remote controlled by three-four corporates,” said Rahul Gandhi. 

However, his visit to Jantar Mantar now seems to have spurred the Delhi Police into action, and the crackdown on the protestors followed after the Gandhis left.



According to Congress volunteer JoAnn Thakkarwal who was also sitting on dharna with her senior colleagues, they were detained and taken to Mandir Marg Police Station. She said the Police have not disclosed the reason for detention.



Jantar Mantar: Farmers’ movement has reunited people of Haryana and Punjab

Maharashtra organisations declare protests marches from Jan 23-25

Women farmers, students write open letter against SC’s comment on women farmers

BKU President Bhupinder Singh Mann quits SC-nominated Committee for farm laws

Farmers celebrate Lohri, burn copies of Farm Acts into ashes in the bonfire



Related Articles