Farmers’ protest: The Haryana government extended the ban on mobile internet and bulk SMS services in seven districts for an additional two days until February 15, in view of the ongoing farmers’ ‘Delhi Chalo’ agitation.
Notably, farmers are marching towards Delhi demanding a law on Minimum Support Price (MSP) for crops, farm loan waiver and the implementation of Swaminathan Commission recommendations among others.
Internet ban in THESE districts
The government specified that the ban on mobile internet and bulk SMS services would continue in the districts of Ambala, Kurukshetra, Kaithal, Jind, Hisar, Fatehabad, and Sirsa.
In the order, additional chief secretary of Haryana T V S N Prasad said, “After assessment of the current prevailing law & order situation in the state, the conditions are still critical and tense in the district Ambala, Kurukshetra, Kaithal, Jind, Hisar, Fatehabad and Sirsa.”
“…There is a clear potential of disruption of public utilities, damage to public assets and amenities and disturbance of public law and order in above mentioned districts on account of misuse of internet services by way of spread of inflammatory material and false rumours,” Prasad said.
The order has been issued under Section 5 of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 and Rule 2 of Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules 2017.
According to the order, the suspension of the mobile internet services, bulk SMS (excluding banking and mobile recharge) and all dongle services, etc. provided on mobile networks except the voice calls in the jurisdiction of districts Ambala, Kurukshetra, Kaithal, Jind, Hisar, Fatehabad and Sirsa has been extended till February 15.
All telecom service providers in Haryana have been directed to ensure compliance with the order.
As farmers in large numbers marched towards the national capital on Tuesday. The police fired tear gas on the protestors at the Punjab-Haryana Shambhu Border. as protesters tried to break past barricades set up by the Haryana Police to stop them from heading to the national capital.
The police also deployed concrete slabs, iron nails, barricades, barbed wires, and police and paramilitary personnel at Kurukshetra in Haryana in view of the ‘Delhi Chalo’ march by the farmers.
The protesting farmers have presented a list of 12 demands to the central government. According to the protesting farmers, the centre promised them better crop prices after which they ended the 2021 protest. At the forefront of their demands is the enactment of a law guaranteeing a Minimum Support Price (MSP) for all crops, a measure advocated by the Swaminathan Commission report.
In addition to MSP assurance, the farmers are calling for a comprehensive debt waiver programme and the establishment of a pension scheme for both farmers and farm labourers. Furthermore, they are vehemently opposing the Electricity Amendment Bill 2020 and are urging for the reinstatement of the Land Acquisition Act of 2013. This reinstatement would entail provisions ensuring farmers’ consent and compensation set at four times the collector rate.