Chilli farmers in handcuffs, Oppn slams TRS govt
THE TRS government in Telangana came under fire from the Opposition on Thursday after police produced 10 chilli farmers in a court in handcuffs.
Khammam police commissioner Tafseer Iqbal has ordered an inquiry into the incident.
The farmers were arrested on April 30 for vandalising the offices of chairman and secretary of the Khammam Marketing Yard on April 28 and setting office equipment on fire during a protest against falling chilli prices.
Three cases were registered at the III Town Police Station against 10 farmers.
While the farmers were granted bail in two cases on Monday, the hearing for the bail in the third case was posted for Thursday. In the morning, the 10 farmerswerebroughttothecourt in handcuffs which angered their familieswaitingoutsidethecourt, who said they were being treated like hardcore criminals.
Several local Congress and Left party leaders who had come to offer support to the farmers’ families and called up the Police Commissioner and complained about the treatment.
The Supreme Court has set guidelines to discourage law enforcers from handcuffing all convicts and undertrials.
“It was wrong on the part of the police escort party to handcuff the accused farmers. I do not know why they took that precaution. I have ordered an inquiry by a deputy SP officer and based on his report I will take action,” Commissioner Iqbal said.
The farmers were granted bail and were released from jail in the evening.
CPI(ML) New Democracy leader P Ranga Rao condemned the TRS government for handcuffing the chilli farmers.
Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee president N Uttam Kumar Reddy said the TRS government had committed a grave mistake by handcuffing the farmers. He said the farmers had staged a protest demanding a remunerative price for their crop. Instead of accepting their demand, the TRS government registered criminal cases against the farmers and put them behind bars. “It is highly shocking that the accused farmers were brought to the court handcuffed. Are they terrorists or extremists? What is the message that the TRS government is trying to convey by hand-cuffing poor farmers? Is it trying to say that anyone who holds protest against the TRS government will be considered a hardcore criminal?” he asked. “This is the height of arrogance of power.”
He also demanded stern action, including suspension of all the police officers responsible for handcuffing the farmers. He said all cases registered against the farmers should be withdrawn immediately.
“The Congress party will intensify its agitation if these demands are not met immediately. The echo of farmers’ protests held at the Khammam Market Yard will now be heard everywhere across Telangana. Poor chilli farmers have been subjected to a lot of humiliation. First they were denied a supportive price, implicated in a false case, arrested, jailed and now handcuffed. We will not let their sacrifices go waste,” he said.