The Delhi government on Friday, November 27, denied permission to the police to use nine stadiums in the national capital as makeshift jails for farmers' from Punjab and Haryana who enter the city as part of their "Delhi Chalo" march.
"The farmers' demands are legitimate. Jailing them isn't the solution to the issue. Their demands must be accepted," Delhi Home Minister Satyendra Jain said on Friday. "This protest is non-violent. Non-violent protest is every Indian's right. So the Delhi government has refused the Delhi police's request," the minister added.
Earlier in the day, the Delhi Police had sought permission from the state government to use nine stadiums as temporary jails to house protesting farmers.
"In view of the farmers' march, Delhi Police has asked the Delhi government for permission to use nine stadiums as temporary jails to keep the detained or arrested farmers," a Delhi police official said.
The demand came as thousands of farmers, protesting the Centre's contentious farm laws, marched towards Delhi, braving police barricades, tear gas and water cannons deployed by the cops to stop them.
However, the Aam Admi Party (AAP) government in Delhi objected to any move to jail the farmers.
AAP MLA Raghav Chadha on Friday appealed to the Delhi government to deny permission, saying the farmer of the country is "neither a criminal nor a terrorist".
On Thursday, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had also backed the farmers, tweeting, "All three agricultural laws are anti-farmers. Instead of allowing farmers to protest peacefully, water cannons are being used against them and the laws are also not being withdrawn. This is absolutely wrong. Protesting peacefully is their constitutional right."
Farmers from six states, including Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Kerala and Punjab are marching towards Delhi.
The call to march, initially given by the All Indian Kisan Sangarsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC)- a body of nearly 200 farmers' organisations across India has received support from nearly 500 farmers' bodies.
For nearly three months, the farmers have been agitating against the centre's 'historic reforms'. The centre claims that the new farm laws will improve farmers' income by allowing them to sell produce anywhere in the country.
The contentious bills which farmers say are "anti-farmer", aim to provide a barrier-free trade for farmers' produce outside notified farm mandis and to empower farmers into farming agreements with private players prior to production for sale of agri-produce.