Sedition for breaking officer’s windshield

New Delhi: Even as the apex court was making its intent known on the colonial ‘sedition law, the police in Haryana was booking farmers for sedition after they allegedly attacked and damaged the official vehicle of Deputy Speaker Ranbir Gangwa during a protest. The incident took place in Sirsa district on July 11 and the FIR was filed the same day.

The news surfaced after the SC asked the government why it was not looking into this law. Swaraj India chief Yogendra Yadav latched onto the incident. "Yesterday, a sedition case was registered against farmers in Sirsa for breaking the windshield of a minister's vehicle! That's what this law is being used for," Yadav said, referring to the Haryana Police charging over 100 farmers with sedition.

Earlier, the Haryana government had taken a serious view of the incident, replacing Sirsa district police chief Bhupender Singh with Dr Arpit Jain while suspending an Inspector-rank official.

Deputy Speaker Ranbir Gangwa had told reporters here on Tuesday that those who pelted his vehicle with stones on Sunday cannot be called farmers.

"They cannot be called farmers. I can say those who attacked looked like addicts...," he had said.

Farmers carrying black flags had assembled outside Chaudhary Devi Lal University in Sirsa on Sunday during the day and raised slogans against the government.

While Gangwa, who is a BJP MLA from Nalwa in Hisar, was coming out of the varsity after attending a function, protesters targeted his car, police had said.

Despite heavy police presence, some managed to surround the vehicle and banged against it with their hands.

Meanwhile, Former Union Minister Arun Shourie has also filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging the constitutional validity of Section 124A (Sedition) of the IPC. "If a police officer wants to fix anybody in a village for something, he can use Section 124 A... People are scared," a top court bench led by Chief Justice NV Ramana said on Thursday.

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