A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking a direction to the government to restore mobile internet at areas on the Delhi-Haryana border where thousands of farmers are camping in protest against three new farm laws.
The petition filed by two advocates, Sanpreet Singh Ajmani and Pushpinder Singh, says snapping internet is a violation of fundamental rights.
The authorities had snapped internet at the protest sites to prevent trouble after a tractor rally by farmers on January 26 turned violent in Delhi. A man had died near ITO in central Delhi during the protest, reportedly in an accident. The petition, however, sought a judicial probe into the death.
“Access to internet has been upheld as a part of fundamental right by the Supreme Court in the matter related to Jammu and Kashmir… By shutting the internet the government is trying to stop farmers and journalists from bringing the true picture before the nation,” the petition said.
“Internet has been suspended around farmers’ protest cites and only the government’s narrative is getting brought forward, which is clear attack on fundamental rights… The entire Sikh community is blamed and defamed by some news channels, spreading hate against the community…” the petition said.
The petition also asked the Supreme Court for a direction to the government to remove iron nails and concrete barricades around the protest sites.
A three-hour nationwide “chakka jam” — blockade of national and state highways — by farmers was held amid a high alert in Delhi today. Highways across north India, including the Eastern Peripheral Expressway around Delhi, were blocked by farmers protesting against the centre’s three farm laws passed in September. In Bengaluru, 30 people were taken into preventive custody.
“We won’t return home unless our demands are met”, said farmer leader Rakesh Tikait, whose emotional outburst after the violence during Republic Day’s tractor rally gave a second wind to the protest being held by lakhs of farmers at the borders of Delhi for more than two months.
The government has said it is willing to discuss the farm laws clause by clause and pause its implementation for one-and-a-half years. However, the farmers have said they want nothing less than complete repeal of the laws.