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.

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