The Delhi Police on Monday imposed a ban on large gatherings and entry of tractors and trolleys in the national capital till March 12 ahead of the farmers’ march to the city.
The order, issued under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, came as more than 200 farmers’ unions are planning to march to Delhi on February 13. They are demanding that the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Union government enact a law guaranteeing a minimum support price for agricultural commodities.
A minimum support price is the rate at which the government buys farm produce and is based on a calculation of at least one and a half times the cost of production incurred by the farmers.
The farmers have also demanded that those whose lands were acquired by the government be adequately compensated and that the police cases against protestors be withdrawn.
The order issued by Delhi Police Commissioner Sanjay Arora on Monday said that there is an “absolute prohibition” on organising, convening or participating in processions, demonstrations, rallies or foot marches, whether for political, social or any other purpose.
“There is an imminent risk of widespread tension, public nuisance, public annoyance, social unrest and the potential for violence on account of the participants of the march entering into the territory of Delhi/New Delhi,” the order said.
It added: “Participants are likely to use tractors, trolleys/trailers as mode of transport for entering into the territory of Delhi/New Delhi, which will inevitably be a great hazard on Delhi roads and will cause danger to other road users/residents of Delhi/New Delhi. Plying a tractor is also banned in New Delhi.”
Blocking of roads or passages, carrying out any procession, agitations, rallies or public meetings by the agitators, general public or public representatives through a gathering of five or more persons with or without weapons is also banned in Delhi till March 12.
“More particularly, taking into consideration the past experience of farmer agitation organised in 2020 and valuable inputs of large scale serious law and order problem, received from intelligence agencies, it is necessary to take legal steps to avoid any such situation,” the order said.
The Delhi Police, which reports to the Union Home Ministry, has also banned “utterances of provocative slogans”.
“It shall be unlawful for any person, group, or organisation to disseminate, propagate, or utter any provocative slogan, speech, or message, whether through verbal, written, or electronic means, which may incite or inflame passions leading to a breach of public order and [tranquillity],” the order said.