An FIR has been lodged against ‘farmer’ leader Sukhbir Khalifa and around 230 of his supporters for causing a traffic jam and violating Section 144 at the arterial Zero Point circle in Noida, UP.
Due to the jam caused by these protestors, ambulances carrying patients also got stuck, thus endangering lives. The jam was resolved only when senior administration and police officials reached the spot.
Right from the outset, these protests have thrown ordinary life out of gear. Bike drivers have been attacked with swords and seriously injured when they tried to make their way through the blockades. Even Army convoys in Punjab were blocked and asked to ‘show documents’.
In December 2020 itself a petition was filed in Supreme Court to remove the protestors from roads and public spaces as the agitation is blocking emergency medical services in Delhi-NCR border areas. But neither the Courts, nor the government, did anything, while lakhs suffered.
Usually, protests in Delhi-NCR are highly regulated and only allowed in designated spots like Jantar Mantar or Ramlila ground. Even the massive anti-corruption protests that swept across the nation in 2011-12 were restricted to these designated zones in the national capital, and no citizen was inconvenienced.
What is worse is that these intractable and often violent ‘farmer’ protestors are still refusing to vacate Delhi-NCR, despite the much-needed farm reform laws being repealed by the government.
Seeing the centre cave in to their pressure tactics, the protestors have now dug in to push through their maximalist demands which include legislation to guarantee MSP for perpetuity and massive increase in the MSP procurement system, something which will drain the treasury and bankrupt the country, besides causing irreparable environmental damage by further incentivizing water-guzzling crops like paddy in arid areas like Punjab.