The superintendent of police, Sambhal in Uttar Pradesh has served notices to about a dozen farmers of the district as to why Rs 50 lakh should not be recovered from them for misleading the farmers and provoking them to take part in the Bharatiya Kisan Union-led movement.
The notices were served to them on Dec 12 and 13.
Interestingly, this is the first such case of the issuing of notice by any district administration anywhere in the country though the farmers had not damaged any public or private property in Sambhal.
When various district administrations of Uttar Pradesh imposed fines during the anti-CAA-cum-NRC movement about a year back, they took the plea of a High Court ruling that the amount damaged during any agitation can be recovered from those leading and participating in it. But in this case no damage to property has been reported from anywhere in the state.
However, the SP later clarified that actually the notices of Rs 50,000 have been sent and that Rs 50 lakh was a clerical error. He was quoted by the NDTV as saying that it was a preventive measure so that the farmers do not indulge in blockade of roads and target property.
Curiously, the news of serving of notices to farmers could be known nationally only a day after the Supreme Court on Thursday observed that every citizen enjoys the fundamental right to peacefully assemble and protest.
Reports from Sambhal say that six of those 12 farmers have actually received the notices.
Meanwhile, the farmers agitation entered its 23rd day on Dec 18 and there seems to be no sign of an early end to the deadlock.