In a shocking development, the Haryana police have booked a sedition case against hundreds of farmers, who are protesting against the three controversial farm laws passed by the Union government, for attacking the car of a BJP leader. The mass filing has on Wednesday, a day before the Supreme Court had questioned the government on why India needs section 124A (sedition) of the IPC which was introduced by the British rule.
According to reports, Sirsa police in Haryana had booked 100 farmers under sedition for allegedly attacking the official vehicle of Haryana Deputy Speaker and BJP leader Ranbir Gangwa. The attack has occurred on July 11 in Sirsa amid the ongoing protest against the farm laws. In what the activists call the deliberate misuse of sedition by booking the peasants under the draconian law, the police had booked 100 farmers including two farm leaders Prahlad Singh and Harcharan Singh under sections 124A -sedition and 307 - an attempt to murder.
The news of booking the farmers under sedition has hit the headlines across the nation on Thursday, hours after the Supreme Court has come down hard on the Union government and asked why it is using the colonial law. In a statement issued on Wednesday, the Samyukt Kisan Morcha had slammed the charges and called them as false, frivolous, and cooked up. It has said, "Farmer leaders Harcharan Singh and Prahlad Singh and around 100 farmers have been booked under false cases, with the grave charge of sedition, merely because they were protesting against Haryana Deputy Speaker in Sirsa."
The farmers' body has strongly condemned the sedition charges and said that the charges against farmers and farmer leaders were under instructions of the anti-farmer BJP government of Haryana. The reports say that this is the first case of sedition that has been invoked on the protesting farmers since they began their agitations against the three farm bills last year. The farmers' protest had previously come under attack from politicians in Haryana.
Earlier in June, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar had said that the unions of the protesting farmers should not remain stubborn on repealing the farm laws and he claimed that only a handful of people were opposing the farm laws and that common farmers are happy. He added that real farmers have no objection to the farm laws and alleged that those opposing the farm laws are protesting due to political reasons.
As the news of slapping sedition on farmers had come on the day when the apex court had taken the fight against the draconian law, it had shocked the country as sedition has conveyed that it is here to stay. The apex court bench headed by Chief Justice of India NV Ramana and Justices AS Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy had on Thursday asked the Union government- why do we still need it?
On Thursday, the apex court had raised concerns over the grave misuse of colonial-era sedition law - section 124A of the Indian Penal Code. the bench has asked, "Mr Attorney General, we want to ask some questions. This is the colonial-era law and the same law was used by the British to suppress the freedom movement. It was used by the British to silence Mahatma Gandhi, Gokhale, and others. Is it still necessary to keep this in statute even after 75 years of independence?" Expressing its main concern for misusing the law, the apex court bench has issued a notice to the Union government with this regard and directed to reply to it.