Petition claims more than 3 lakh farmers have gathered on the Delhi borders despite government advisory against public gatherings not exceeding 50 people
NEW DELHI – In a move reminiscent of legal challenges to Shaheen Bagh sit-in earlier this year, the Supreme Court has been approached to seek immediate removal of agitating farmers from borders around Delhi. A Delhi resident has filed a plea claiming that “they are blocking roads to hamper emergency/medical services”. They also increase the risk of COVID-19 spread in Delhi, Rishabh Sharma said in his plea through advocate Omprakash Parihar.
The plea cited rapid increase in Covid-19 cases in Delhi, and that the protests were hindering the movement of people frequently travelling to Delhi from different states to get treatment in big government hospitals across the capital.
“That the persons affected by such irresponsible acts of the protestors, and the state not in a position to remove these protestors as they are huge in number and this protest is causing a lot of trouble to the citizens of India, hence the petitioner is filing the present PIL before this court,” said the plea.
The Shaheen Bagh protest was a sit-in peaceful protest, led by women, that began in response to the passage of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) in both houses of the Parliament on December 11, 2019 and the ensuing police intervention against students at Jamia Millia Islamia who were opposing the Amendment. The blockade became a campaigning issue in the 2020 Delhi Legislative Assembly elections.
Five petitions were filed to stop the blockade. The Delhi High Court refused to hear the first two pleas and on January 14, 2020 declared the blockade to be a police matter. The Delhi Police said that they will not use force to end the blockade. A third petition highlighted the difficulty faced by students with upcoming board examinations. The matter also reached the Supreme Court of India with two pleas being filed.
The current plea against farmers’ agitation claimed that more than 3 lakh farmers had gathered on the Delhi borders and were protesting against new farm laws, despite government advisory against public gatherings not exceeding 50 people.
The petitioner urged the top court to issue directions for the immediate removal/ dispersal of such mass gatherings of protestors on the Delhi borders and shifting them to the place already allotted by the Delhi Police in view of immediate threat of spread of the coronavirus infection.
“The lives of lakhs of people protesting on the Delhi Borders are at immediate risk since the virus is very contagious and if by chance this disease takes the shape of community spread, it will cause havoc in the country,” the plea added. -With inputs from IANS