72 farmers arrested in Bangalore for failing to protest at designated protest site

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The indefinite protest by Devanahalli farmers against land acquisition by the Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board (KIADB) has been going on for more than 120 days.

Devanahalli Police on Monday August 15 arrested 72 farmers who were on an indefinite strike against the state government over land acquisition at Devanahalli in Bengaluru and released them the same evening. They were arrested for not protesting at Freedom Park, which the Karnataka High Court ordered is the only designated venue for protests in the city. The farmers were charged under Sections 188 (disobeying an order duly issued by an official), 290 (punishment for public nuisance in cases not otherwise provided for), 283 (danger or obstruction of the public highway or line of navigation) and 291 (prosecution of nuisance after injunction) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The Karnataka state government has been ordered to take serious action against anyone responsible for staging protests outside Bengaluru’s Freedom Park by the state high court. According to the Licensing and Regulation of Demonstrations, Demonstrations and Protest Marches (City of Bengaluru) Ordinance 2021, Freedom Park is the designated place for processions, dharnas and demonstrations, the court on August 1. Under the order, the state government can take action against those protesting outside the designated area on the grounds that it could cause major inconvenience to residents. The order empowered police officers to take legal action against offenders under IPC Section 188 and the Karnataka Police Act 1963.

“Police today arrested farmers in Devanahalli as they staged a black flag protest. A few of them were picked up early in the morning at 4 a.m. from their place of demonstration. Farmers who slept at the protest site were attacked and then taken into custody without giving any reason. It is the decision of the state to suppress the voices of the farmers who were unhappy with it on Independence Day,” said Aratrike De, a member of the All India Student Association (AISA). Sharath, an AISA student activist who left in solidarity, was also detained by Devanahalli police.

However, police said they arrested most protesters at 10 a.m. and only one person was arrested at 4 a.m. “We arrested most of them at 10am today, only one person called Byrareddy was arrested at his residence in Mahalakshmi at 4am. They will be released around 6pm tonight. This is the first case of such an arrest where people were arrested for not protesting at the designated protest location,” said a police official from Devanahalli Police Station.

Devanahalli farmers have been on an indefinite strike for over 120 days to protest the Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board (KIADB) proposal to purchase 1,777 acres of fertile land. According to KIADB’s proposal, the state government will launch a global tender and invite companies to set up factories in Devanahalli. A gazette notice for the acquisition process was published on August 27, 2021, but farmers did not receive the notice until January 2022. A total of 387 families will lose their land if the plan is implemented. , and many more will suffer as a result of job losses.

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