Lawyers from Punjab set up legal help desks across the three protest sites on Delhi borders to assist arrested or missing farmers, reported the Indian Express. Five young advocates aged between 24 to 34 years, working at the Punjab and Haryana High Court, have now positioned themselves on the main stage at the Singhu border site for easy interaction with protesters.
According to Mansa advocate Ramandeep Kaur, the whole team comprises about 150 advocates who coordinate across all three sites. The legal team is also working with 181 people, out of which they are helping 128 arrest people with bail and mulaqat. The rest of the people are assumed missing.
Members are also trying to contact families of all people who were either arrested or went missing. As of Friday morning, the legal team contacted nearly 60 families to gather information about people who came to Delhi on January 26. Moreover, advocates are also visiting each trolley to gain more intel and spread awareness about the legal assistance on the main stage.
On February 2, the Sanyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) announced helpline numbers (981 400 4729 / 991 423 1100 / 981 336 4100 / 941 649 5827 and 931 584 8586) using which people can inform the organisation about all missing people to account for all unknown persons who are still missing. At the time, SKM legal cell member Harpal Singh assured that all calls made to such numbers are received by SKM personnel. However, the internet shut down at protest sites has hampered this work.
For this, Chandigarh’s Sukhveer Kaur Brar told Indian Express that advocates in Punjab are chipping in for work that requires the internet such as accessing FIRs online.
Nonetheless, the SKM demanded on February 4 that the government immediately reinstate internet services. Leaders cited the government’s Digital India plans that hoped to provide internet for all while, depriving India’s farmers of the Internet.
“The government’s efforts to suppress the voice of disagreement continue. Along with the agitating farmers, media persons and local people are facing a lot of troubles due to internet ban. Especially students are facing a big problem as their exams are coming soon,” said the SKM.
Further, they claimed that at least 21 families have reached out to the organisation to report 21 persons missing since Republic Day. However, the farmers’ organisation is yet to file a missing person complaint to the people.
Earlier, the SKM legal cell said that farmers parade participants, who were following the pre-assigned routes on January 26, were also arrested from Nangloi and Tikri areas. Members called it a “murder of democracy.” They alleged police forcefully injected unknown farmers into the protest.
Later, the SKM stated that over 20 tractors were missing. In other areas, tires were punctured to stop and arrest farmers. In the following days, people travelling by railways were detained and some Haryana farmers were arrested as early as January 2.
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