‘Police, not farmers, put the barricades’: Yogendra Yadav blames Centre for blockade at Delhi borders

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Updated: September 24, 2021 10:14 AM

Yogendra Yadav said it was the police and the government who put the barricades on the borders to stop the protesting farmers from entering the national capital. 

Yogendra Yadav said it was the police and the government who put the barricades on the borders to stop the protesting farmers from entering the national capital. 

Jan Kisan Morcha founder Yogendra Yadav, who has been instrumental in leading the farmers’ protest against the Centre’s three contentious farm laws, has blamed the government and authorities for the inconvenience caused to commuters due to blockade of roads and borders of the national capital.

Speaking to FinancialExpress.com, Yadav said it was the police and the government who put the barricades on the borders to stop the protesting farmers from entering the national capital.

Referring to the Supreme Court’s remarks made earlier this year while hearing a plea complaining about the blockade of roads and highways, Yadav said: “The Supreme Court had said, who has put the barriers? Have the farmers put barricades on the national highway? The lawyer, on behalf of the government, said no sir, police has put those barricades. So yes, barricades are bad. Who has put them up? The police has put them up; we wanted to come in to speak to our government, the government stopped us and put barricades.”

He said that the blockade of roads and highways was causing inconvenience to the farmers as well, adding that the protesting farm unions always wanted them to be removed.

“So barricades are a bad idea but who has put them up? Yes, there is inconvenience, we want to resolve it, we feel very bad about people who are inconvenienced whether as commuters, old people travelling, ambulances passing – these are not things that you can make anyone feel good about and therefore we want to conclude it as soon as possible,” he said.

Last month, the Supreme Court had asked the Centre to find a solution to the blockade of roads in Delhi-NCR. “Solution lies in the hands of Union of India and state governments,” said the bench.

Noida resident Monicca Agarwaal had moved the top court challenging the road blockade caused by farmers protesting at Delhi-Noida border. Saying that she is a single parent and also had some medical issues, the petitioner claimed that her travel to Delhi was taking two hours instead of normal 20 minutes.

On April 9 this year, a bench headed by Justice S K Kaul had said: “We have clarified to the Solicitor General that we are not concerned with the larger issue but only limited to the aspect of free flow of traffic on the streets, i.e. the public streets should not be blocked. This is an aspect which has been repeatedly emphasised in different orders of this Court.”

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Interestingly, a three-judge bench headed by Justice Kaul, in the Amrit Sahni judgment in Shaheen Bagh protest cases, had ruled in October 2020, “We have no hesitation in concluding that such kind of occupation on public ways, whether at the site in question or anywhere else, for protests is not acceptable and the administration ought to take action to keep the areas clear of encroachments or obstructions.”

“While appreciating the existence of the right to peaceful protest against a legislation, we have to make it unequivocally clear that public ways and public spaces cannot be occupied in such a manner and that too indefinitely.”

Farmers protesting against the farm laws have stayed put at Delhi’s borders with Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh, leading to complete and partial blockade of highways. This has been causing traffic jams and inconvenience to the commuters. While holding demonstrations, protesters have also been blocking railway tracks in the neighbouring states of the national capital.

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