Farmers have 'constitutional right' to take out tractor rally on Republic Day, say protesting union leaders

The union leaders said that farmers are not going to hold their rally on Rajpath and in other high-security areas to avoid disruption in the Republic Day parade and will hold a peaceful rally

Press Trust of India January 18, 2021 15:03:03 IST
Farmers have 'constitutional right' to take out tractor rally on Republic Day, say protesting union leaders

Representational image. PTI

New Delhi: Protesting union leaders on Monday said that farmers have a constitutional right to take out their tractor rally peacefully and asserted that thousands of people will participate in the proposed event on 26 January.

The Supreme Court said on Monday that the Delhi Police is the first authority to decide the entry of protesting farmers into the national capital.

Bhartiya Kisan Union (Lakhowal) Punjab general secretary Paramjit Singh said that farmers are not going to hold their rally on Rajpath and in other high-security areas, adding that they would only take out it on the Outer Ring Road in Delhi and that there will be no disruption in the official Republic Day parade.

"We are stuck at the Delhi borders. We have not decided to sit at these borders ourselves, we have been stopped from entering Delhi. We will take out the rally peacefully without disrupting any law and order. We will exercise our constitutional right and we will definitely enter Delhi," Singh told PTI.

Another farmer leader Lakhbir Singh, who is vice president (Punjab) of All India Kisan Sabha, said that farmers will return to protest sites after taking out the tractor rally on the Outer Ring Road on 26 January.

"We will not go to any place where there might be a government gathering, and all our tractors will have a national flag and the flags of our farmer unions," Lakhbir said.

Asked about their stand in case the Delhi Police does not give them permission for the tractor parade, BKU (Ekta Ugrahan) president Joginder Singh Ugrahan said that farmers have constitutional rights to hold the tractor rally peacefully.

"If the Delhi Police has some issues over law and order on Republic Day, they can sit with Sankyukt Kisan Morcha and tell about alternatives routes for the tractor rally. Thereafter, our farmers' committee will decide the same. But, it is very clear that their tractor rally will be taken out in the national capital on 26 January," Ugrahan told PTI.

Thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, have been camping at several Delhi borders since 28 November, demanding a repeal of farm laws and legal guarantee on minimum support price for their crops.

While hearing a petition, the Supreme Court told the Centre that the proposed tractor rally by farmers on the Republic Day on 26 January is a matter of "law and order" and Delhi Police is the first authority to decide who should be allowed to enter the national capital.

A bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde, while hearing the Centre's application seeking an injunction against the proposed tractor or trolley march or any other kind of protest which seeks to disrupt the gathering and celebrations of the Republic Day, said that police has all the authority to deal with the matter.

The tenth round of talks between the government and the protesting farmer unions is scheduled on 19 January. On the same day, the Supreme Court-appointed committee to resolve the impasse will hold its first meeting.

The previous nine rounds of formal talks between the Centre and 41 farmer unions have failed to yield any concrete results to end the long-running protest at Delhi's borders as the latter have stuck to their main demand of a complete repeal of the three acts.

The Supreme Court had on 11 January stayed the implementation of the three laws till further orders and appointed a four-member panel to resolve the impasse.

Bhartiya Kisan Union president Bhupinder Singh Mann, however, recused himself from the committee last week.

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