Farmers' protest: Delhi govt rejects Centre's Bawana stadium jail plan

"Farmers are our 'annadata' and treating them in this way, arresting them, would be like rubbing salt into their wounds."

Delhi transport minister Kailash Gahlot (photo: IANS)
Delhi transport minister Kailash Gahlot (photo: IANS)


The Delhi government denied the Centre's request to convert Bawana stadium into a temporary prison in the national capital on Tuesday, 13 February.

Turning down the request, Delhi minister Kailash Gahlot said: "The demands of the farmers are genuine."

Secondly, it is the Constitutional right of every citizen to make a peaceful protest. It is, therefore, incorrect to arrest the farmers.
Kailash Gahlot, Delhi transport minister

"The central government should invite them over for talks and try to find a solution to their genuine problems. Farmers of the country are our annadata [the givers of food] and treating them in this way by arresting them would be like rubbing salt into their wounds. We cannot be a party to this decision of the central government," the reply further stated.

"Hence, approval cannot be given for converting a stadium into a jail," it added.

Massive traffic jams were witnessed at the entry and exit points of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh as police and paramilitary personnel equipped with anti-riot gear placed multiple layers of barricades, concrete blocks, iron nails and walls of containers in view of the farmers' 'Delhi Chalo' march.

To stop the farmers from entering the national capital, the police and the paramilitary forces were deployed along the borders, including Tikri, Singhu and Ghazipur, with cement blocks and pickets with nails installed on the approach roads.

The Delhi Police had, on Monday, 12 February, invoked section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) citywide and fortified the borders as a precautionary measure. Delhi police commissioner Sanjay Arora issued these directives for the next 30 days to ensure law and order amidst planned farmer protests against the central government.

A total of 114 companies, including 64 from paramilitary forces and 50 from the Haryana Police, have been deployed across various districts. Equipped with anti-riot gear, these units are stationed in the border areas and sensitive districts.

Additionally, surveillance technologies such as drones and CCTV cameras are being utilised to monitor any disruptive activities.

The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (Non-Political) and the Kisan Mazdoor Morcha began marching towards Delhi on Tuesday morning to press the Centre to accept their demands, including the enactment of a law to guarantee a minimum support price (MSP) for crops.

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