Farmers still facing charges from last Republic Day parade

Farmers charged for rioting last year on Republic Day still await for the Centre’s direction to dismiss FIRs

Samyukta Kisan Morcha

First Information Reports (FIR) filed in wake of the tractor rally held during Republic Day 2021, still continue to threaten farmers with legal persecution. As January 26, 2022 approaches, the legal team of farmers group Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) says that the Centre is yet to dismiss the chargesheet containing 23 FIRs against farmers.

On Wednesday, it will be a year since the farmers organised an elaborate tractor parade across the national capital Delhi in 2021. The march that had started off with a shower of flowers on protesting farmers by citizens, took a turn for the worse when some protesters were made to change their route. Due to this and the police action opened along similar routes, the day ended with external elements storming the Red Fort and the death of a farmer driving a tractor at ITO.

Many farmers had gone missing after the incident while others were arrested by police. The incident also sparked the birth of the SKM’s legal cell, which over the next few months found all missing farmers in jails or other places. The team succeeded in ensuring bail for the peasants but the court battle to do away with the charges of rioting and unrest continues.

“On December 9, 2021 when we agreed to leave Delhi borders, the government told us it’d dismiss the cases against farmers. We still have the written agreement but the authorities haven’t started the process anywhere in India still,” SKM’s Legal Convenor Prem Singhu Bhangu told Sabrang India on January 25.

The agreement wasn’t solely about 23 FIRs. Over the past year, farmers across India, especially Haryana, have been constantly condemning the BJP’s ruling regime for ignoring farmers’ demands. Mahapanchayats, regional protests were held every other week, at times, even during harvest season.

According to the legal cell, the government has to revoke FIRs against 50,000 agitating farmers. Additionally, it has to act on other demands regarding the legalisation of MSP, compensation to martyred farmers’ families and dismissal of laws penalising farmers.

“We are still waiting for the government to show results,” said Bhangu.

Rather than dismissing charges, farmers recently received summons from the Delhi High Court or arrest warrants for the violence on October 3, 2021 at Lakhimpur Kheri.

“The Centre has the power to dismiss all these cases if only the Union Home Ministry sends a letter to concerned state regions. If by January 31, the situation stays the same, we will include this demand in Mission UP as well,” said legal cell member Vasu Kukreja.

Foreseeing continued government failure in future, the SKM is now gearing up for the ‘Vishwasghat Diwas’ on January 31 when farmers will go to the tehsil-level to submit memorandums to authorities reiterating their demands.


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