Human Rights Organization Demands the Removal of Barricades Around Protest Sites

The suppression of the right to peaceful assembly has become a trend in India, the International Commission of Jurists said.

Protest

On Thursday, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), a global human rights body, called on the Indian authorities to clear barricades at farmers’ protest sites near Delhi and avoid making arbitrary arrests.

The organisation condemned the unlawful repression of peaceful protests and urged the Indian authorities to respect the right to freedom of assembly of Indian farmers who have been demonstrating in Delhi since November 26, 2020, against newly promulgated agricultural laws.

The organisation said in a statement that Since early February 2021, police have used metal barricades, cement walls and iron nails to block the roads leading to Tikri, Singhu, Ghazipur, the three main borders where the farmers have assembled.

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“They (police) have done so to prevent any vehicles from these areas entering Delhi. The barricades have also served to deny male and female farmers and their families, including children, consistent access to water and sanitation facilities,” the organisation said. “The protests at these sites over the past two months are reported to have been peaceful.”

The human rights organisation added: “Thousands of farmers from all over India, and most heavily from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, have demanded the repeal of a new set of agricultural laws, fearing that these will serve to eliminate government protections for crop prices and thereby impact their livelihoods.”

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The ICJ also mentioned the attack on freedom of the press by the current ruling dispensation.”Two journalists were detained and assaulted for reporting from the ground, while nine senior journalists have been threatened with criminal charges including sedition charges by the Indian Government,” the organisation said. “More than 125 persons, including farmers and also bystanders have reportedly been arrested largely in response to a violent clash that occurred on 26 January 2021. At least 21 farmers are reported to be currently missing.”

“Rather than protecting the right to peaceful protest as required by law, the Indian authorities have cracked down on farmers in an arbitrary and aggressive manner, using unlawful force and preventing free movement as well as access to essential facilities”, said Ian Seiderman, ICJ’s Legal and Policy Director.

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The Indian Supreme Court on 17 December 2020, upheld the right to protest of farmers calling it “part of a fundamental right” which can be exercised “subject to public order”. The Court has further said that “[t]here can certainly be no impediment in the exercise of such rights as long as it is non-violent and does not result in damage to the life and properties of other citizens and is in accordance with law.”

Barbed wires fencing Delhi Border. Credits: PTI

“The suppression of the right to peaceful assembly has become a pattern in India, as we saw in December 2019 and January 2020 with the mass arrests of students and human rights defenders who were protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act,” said Seiderman.

The ICJ called on the responsible authorities to remove barricades around protest sites, enable access to water and sanitation facilities and to desist from further arbitrary arrests.

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1 COMMENT

  1. […] “ಇನ್ನೊಂದು ವಿಷಯ ಗೊತ್ತಾ, ಮೋದಿಯವರ ಮಾತನ್ನು ಅದೆಷ್ಟು ನಿಷ್ಠೆಯಿಂದ ಪಾಲಿಸಿದ್ದೆ ಎಂದರೆ, 15 ಲಕ್ಷ ಹಾಕುವುದಾಗಿ ಅವರು ಹೇಳಿದಾಗ, ಅವರ ಮಾತು ನಂಬಿ ಹೊಸ ಅಕೌಂಟ್ ಮಾಡಿಸಿ, ಅದರಲ್ಲಿ ಯಾರಿಂದಲೂ ಒಂದು ರೂಪಾಯಿ ಹಾಕದಂತೆ ಎಚ್ಚರ ವಹಿಸಿದ್ದೆ. ಅದರಲ್ಲಿ ಮೋದಿಯವರೇ ಹಣ ಹಾಕಬೇಕು ಅದನ್ನು ಎಲ್ಲರಿಗೂ ಹೇಳಬೇಕು ಎಂದುಕೊಂಡಿದ್ದೆ. ಅದು ಕೂಡ ಸುಳ್ಳಾಯಿತು”. […]

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