Prohibitory orders banning large gatherings were declared in Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh ahead of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s visit there. The senior Congress leader is attending a kisan mahapanchayat in the area as part of the party’s support to the farmers’ protest against the Centre’s three farm laws passed in September.
“Today I will be in Saharanpur to listen, understand, share my feelings with the farmers and support their struggle. The BJP government will have to withdraw the black agriculture law,”Ms Gandhi Vadra said in a Hindi tweet this morning.
Her participation at the panchayat at Chilkhana is being held under the party’s 10-day “Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan” campaign that will be held in 27 districts of the state.
Section 144, however, has been imposed in Saharanpur, with District Magistrate Akhilesh Singh saying this was “standard practice” to maintain the law and order.
“Imposition of Section 144 is a standard practice which is used to maintain law and order. This practice has been going on from quite some time,” Mr Singh was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
“We are keeping a keen eye on the mahapanchayat. If any law is broken, we will take care of the matter as per law,” he added.
A prohibitory order till April 5 was issued in the district earlier in view of upcoming festivities, the COVID-19 pandemic, law and order and the possibility of violence by the anti-social elements.
Ms Gandhi Vadra is also expected to conduct a dialogue with farmers in Bijnor and Muzaffarnagar districts on February 13.
Last week, the Congress had extended its full support to the farmers’ call for a three-hour “chakka jam”, triggering vociferous protests from the BJP which has been accusing it of inciting the farmers.