Farm Laws: Rahul Gandhi Drives Tractor to Parliament; Police Cracks Down on Protesting Politicians

Congress general secretary Randeep Surjewala, Youth Congress chief Srinivas B.V. and other party workers were detained by the police.

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New Delhi: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi drove a tractor to parliament on Monday morning to show solidarity with farmers who have been protesting against the Union government’s controversial farm laws.

“I’ve brought farmers’ message to Parliament. They (the government) are suppressing voices of farmers and not letting a discussion take place in Parliament. They’ll have to repeal these black laws. The entire country knows these laws favour 2-3 big businessmen,” Gandhi said, according to ANI.

“As per the government, farmers are very happy and those (protesting farmers) sitting outside are terrorists. But in reality, farmers’ rights are being snatched away,” he continued.

Protesting farmers, who have been camped at Delhi’s borders for eight months now, are running a ‘Kisan Sansad’ at Jantar Mantar, parallel to the monsoon session of parliament not far away. Delhi Congress leader Alka Lamba alleged that the police have put her under “house arrest” because she was going to join the protest at Jantar Mantar today.

Speaking to The Wire, Lamba said, “I had made an announcement yesterday that I will take part in the Mahila Kisan Sansad to be held at Jantar Mantar today. However, at 10 am, a team of the Delhi Police arrived at my house who said I can’t leave home as it can lead to law and order problem. They said I didn’t seek permission to take part in it. I told them in a democracy, one doesn’t have to take permission from the police for everything. At 1 pm, they are still in front of my house with several women constables.”

“The police is asking me to give it in writing that I won’t go to Jantar Mantar today and only then will they leave my premises. I told them that I am now seeking permission to be at Jantar Mantar on August 9 for the Kisan Sansad; if I am given permission for it then I can give it in writing that I will not leave home today. They have refused to give me permission for it,” she continued.

Congress general secretary Randeep Surjewala, Youth Congress chief Srinivas B.V. and other party workers too were detained by the police, allegedly for breaking restrictions under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

On Monday, farmers had organised an all-women gathering at Jantar Mantar to mark eight months of the protest. “[Monday’s] Kisan Sansad at Jantar Mantar will be conducted entirely by women. The Mahila Kisan Sansad will reflect the key role that women play in Indian agriculture, and their critical role in the ongoing movement too. Convoys of women farmers from various districts are reaching the morchas for the Mahila Kisan Sansad,” the Samyukt Kisan Morcha had said in a statement.

Both houses of parliament were adjourned again on Monday after several opposition parties insisted that they be allowed to discuss the Pegasus spyware issue and the farmers’ protest.