Chandigarh: The Punjab and Haryana High Court has allowed extension of paramilitary deployment in Patiala city, till September 26, in view of the farmers’ protest scheduled to begin on Friday.
The court accepted the plea of Punjab Advocate General Atul Nanda that the paramilitary forces, which were already in Punjab till September 20 in the wake of the Dera violence, should be allowed to remain in Patiala for a further period, till September 26.
The court, hearing the Mohit Kapoor v. State of Punjab and Others case, rejected the respondents’ objections to the continuation of the paramilitary deployment and accepted the state government’s prayer, "keeping in view the wider interest, more importantly about the public at large, the area where the assembly is to take place.”
The Advocate General submitted in the court that 7.5 acres area had been earmarked in Sher Majra Dana Mandi, about 5 kms from Patiala city, for holding the protest, with the authorities even providing electricity connection there. However, as the respondents opposed the same on grounds that it was located in wilderness, the court directed them to meet Deputy Commissioner, Patiala, for an alternative site "which may be on the outskirts of Patiala city.”
In case such an application is made by the kisan unions, the same should be decided by the concerned authorities today itself, "in accordance with law,” the judges further said, even as the respondents assured the court that "there shall be no untoward incident in Patiala city and there will be complete peace in case the agitation is allowed to be held in Patiala city.”
The directives came a day after the court ordered the kisan unions to take prior permission for their proposed dharna in Patiala and also directed the state government to ensure strict enforcement of Sec 144 CrPC and also that there is "no free entry to the Patiala city”.
According to an official spokesperson, the High Court orders came on a Public Interest Litigation filed by a Patiala based lawyer, Mohit Kapoor, who, in his petition, said that the proposed dharna was illegal and would cause immense problems to the residents, besides creating a law and order situation.
Various Kisan organisations, including BKU (Ugrahan), BKU (Dakonda), BKU Krantikari (Phool Group), BKU Krantikari (Shinder Group), Kirti Kisan Union, Kisan Sangharsh Committee (Pannu Group) and Ajad Sangharsh Committee, were the respondents to the petition, besides the State and Union government.