The Haryana Police have registered two separate cases against farmers for allegedly raising a concrete wall structure and digging a borewell on National Highway-44 in Sonipat district, PTI reported on Sunday.
Kundli Station House Officer Ravi Kumar said the cases were registered after local civic authorities and the National Highways Authority of India filed complaints. The cases were lodged under the relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and the National Highways Act.
Kumar said that the structure and the borewell were coming up illegally. He said that the work of building the structure and digging the borewell has been stopped.
Meanwhile, the Samyukt Kisan Morcha, a collective of farmers’ union protesting against the agriculture laws, urged farmers not to build permanent structures at sites where they were agitating, reported the Hindustan Times.
“On March 12, 32 Punjab farmer unions decided that protesters should not get into building any permanent structures at the protest sites,” SKM leader Darshan Pal said. “This decision was taken against the backdrop of some such structures coming up at Singhu border.”
After facing chilly winters and heavy rains, farmers had taken a slew of measures, including the construction of these concrete structures, to prepare themselves for the summer. Protestors had also installed air conditioners, refrigerators, fans and coolers at many of these structures.
Kishan Pal Singh, 47, a farmer from Haryana’s Jind district, said that the building material for the structures was crowd-sourced from villages or bought from nearby stores. “We have seen people questioning us on social media for using fans and coolers,” he said. “It is sad that they are more concerned about this than the deaths of 200 farmers in the agitation.”
Anil Malik, a leader of Kisan Social Army that is volunteering at the Tikri protest site, said farmers had no idea how long the agitation would continue. “If it had been a matter of 10-20 days, we could have stayed on the roads,” Malik said. “We have elderly protestors and many are at risk of heatstroke. Plus, there is the rain.”
Malik, however, said that if the leaders have asked not to build any structure, they will respect it. “But they have to suggest alternatives,” he added.
SKM’s media coordinator Harinder Singh said that they would find temporary arrangements. “We are thinking of having more tents or temporary bamboo structures as trolleys are not suitable for these weather conditions,” he said.
Besides the heat, farmers said, dust and mosquitoes were another reason stopping them from staying in the open.
Volunteers and youth activists at the Tikri border had given a call to architects and designers to submit eco-friendly low-cost summer houses for farmers at the protest spot last month. Suchetna Singh, an architect from Ludhiana, is one of those who volunteered to design these low-cost structures for the farmers. “We had to keep in mind that these structures could be disassembled and taken back to the villages if needed,” she said. “Many farmers had already made their own structures using their knowledge and experience and those who were still building one came to us and asked for inputs on if we could make it easier.”