Haryana police have invoked sedition charges against a group of protesting farmers who allegedly attacked and damaged the official vehicle of Haryana Deputy Speaker Ranbir Gangwa in Sirsa on July 11, during a demonstration against the Centre’s farm laws and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders.
Sirsa’s Senior Superintendent of Police Arpit Jain confirmed to The Hindu that sedition charges under Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code had been invoked against the accused and an investigation was under way.
“So far, no arrests have been made in the case,” he said on Wednesday.
The Sirsa police have registered the FIR under Section 124A (sedition), 307 (attempt to murder) and 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions), in which two farmer leaders — Harcharan Singh and Prahlad Singh — have been booked. Apart from them, over 100 unidentified people have been booked.
On July 11, the official car of the Deputy Speaker was attacked in Sirsa by a group of protesters shouting slogans and waving black flags. During the demonstration, protesters allegedly smashed the windscreen of vehicles by pelting stones. Mr. Gangwa, however, escaped unhurt.
‘Govt. provoking farmers’
Reacting to the FIR, senior Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) leader Darshan Pal said the government was trying to provoke farmers by taking such steps. “By invoking sedition charges, the government is provoking the farmers. How can sedition and murder charges be justified if a windscreen of a vehicle was broken?”
“We have already announced that all legislators, including those from the BJP, the Jannayak Janta Party and the Independents who support the laws, will be peacefully boycotted and will not be allowed entry into villages across the State. We will take a call on the issue at a meeting today [July 14],” he added.
The SKM is the umbrella organisation of farmer unions which is spearheading the ongoing protest.
In an official statement, the SKM said the sedition and other charges have been invoked on the instructions of the State BJP government, which was condemnable. The government is using terrorising tactics against farmers, merely because the farmers had shown black flags to BJP leaders at Sirsa, it said.