In an apparent bid to prevent farmers from Uttar Pradesh joining ongoing protests by farmers from Punjab and Haryana against the new farm laws, the Uttar Pradesh government has slapped notices on six farmer leaders asking them to deposit a personal bond of Rs 50 lakh each to stop them from 'inciting' the other farmers.
Notices were issued to the six leaders of the Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) in Sambhal district, about 450 kilometres from here, by the sub divisional magistrate (SDM), according to the sources.
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The official, however, said that there was a ''clerical error' in the notices and that the amount of the personal bond would be reduced to Rs 5 lakh instead of Rs 50 lakh. ''The clerk, who prepared the notices, mistakenly put the figure of Rs 50 lakh...it will be corrected and fresh notices will be sent to them,'' said the official here on Friday.
Sources said that similar notices had been sent to six other farmer leaders though the amount in those notices was Rs 5 lakh.
The official said that the SDM had the power to issue such a notice under section 111 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC). The section states that ''when a magistrate deems it necessary to require any person to show cause under such section, he shall make an order in writing, setting forth the substance of the information received, the amount of the bond to be executed, the term for which it is to be in force''.
While the official claimed that the farmer leaders were inciting the other farmers and asking them to join the protests, the latter said that the objective of the notices was to prevent them from holding demonstrations and protests. ''To protest is our democratic right....no one can snatch it,'' said a farmer leader in Sambhal.
The opposition Samajwadi Party (SP) leaders accused the state government of trying to intimidate the farmers. ''Why is the government scared?,'' an SP leader asked.