OPINION
Patiala, via Panchkula. Soon Reaching Your City. Hail Democracy!
- Kamjaat Singh
Patiala, via Panchkula. Soon Reaching Your City. Hail Democracy!



Welcome to Panchkula - now in Patiala. Very soon in your own city also. Just plan a protest.

Farmers have announced that they plan to protest in front of the private residence of Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. 
 
They could come in thousands, and they may actually say extremely disturbing things, like, 'Please fulfil the promise you made when you sought our votes. You said you will waive off our debt. Please waive off our debt."

The police is in action. The judiciary is adamant on doing everything it can to ensure there is no disruption to the normal life of citizens of Patiala. 

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has now made clear to the farmers that they must not allow the 'halaat' to become 'kharaab' at any cost.

It is clear that the police has picked up the signals from Panchkula and from the higher judiciary about how to ensure that the 'halaat' never become 'kharaab.'

Midnight raids are on in Punjab for a couple of days now. Farmer leaders are being arrested. Seven farmer unions have given a call for this protest, slated for September 22. Earlier, another lot of farmers had blocked an artery road to Chandigarh when they gathered in Mohali with tied bundles of sugarcane in hand, demanding payment of arrears.
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The Punjab Police is in action. The higher judiciary is keen to do everything it can to ensure there is no disruption to the normal life of citizens of Patiala. The High Court has now made clear to the farmers that they must not allow the 'halaat' to become 'kharaab' at any cost.

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All this has been causing a lot of inconvenience to the citizens.

The judiciary and the police are genuinely concerned about the inconvenience to the citizens of beautiful cities like Panchkula, Patiala and Mohali. Not too long back, a leading media house of Chandigarh had become so concerned about farmers' dirtying the city beautiful that it wrote editorials about the need to keep the city clean - by keeping farmers away from it.

Farmers coming to Chandigarh would often squat in the city's manicured parks. They would often relieve themselves in ways less than acceptable to the highly cultured citizens of Chandigarh whose potty manners are befitting the legacy of Le Corbusier. Their very sight was incongruous with a city transitioning from a sleepy, boring bureaucratic capital to one with a bustling nightlife, neon signboards and wine and cheese parties to mark the release of books on the intractable problem of rural poverty.

A very concerned media house had then run a campaign to keep the city clean, and the administration had agreed wholeheartedly. The consent of the citizenry of Chandigarh, at least the section whose voice counts, was clear. No more was Matka Chowk to be the magnet of people with a demand, or a grievance. It was a contest, and it ended in 1-0. 

Chandigarh's citizens 1. The farmers, labourers, trade unionists, protesting employees, blind people seeking jobs, women asking for jobs on compassionate grounds, Nrega workers, aanganwadi workers, and everybody else 0.

The score was no different in Panchkula. Citizens 1. Others 0. City - Cleansed. Or Clean. Take your pick, please.

It is the turn of Patiala now. The good citizens of Patiala should be grateful that the police is batting for them. The judiciary is also very keen to ensure that the law and order situation does not get out of hand, that a situation like Panchkula should not happen.

Orders are clear. Ensure that protesters do not enter Patiala. 

The advocate general of Punjab has been told to ensure that there is no free entry to Patiala and that all entry routes are regulated.

Panchkula has shown the price protesters may be expected to pay if they enter a city that the police and the judiciary does not want them to enter.

"Panchkula got saved due to high court's intervention. Hence intervention is  required in this matter as well." This was senior advocate Puneet Bali beseeching the division bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Wednesday.

One point has been stressed repeatedly - the protest is illegal.
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This is Democracy 3.0. People asking the state to fulfil its promises seen as posing a threat to our democracy. Police going out of its way to defend our democracy. Judiciary being proactively concerned about my right to go about my normal life in a city – shopping, visiting a mall, catching a movie, picking up my daughter from school, visiting the Dukh Nivaran Sahib in the evening.

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When security forces cleared the streets of Panchkula, the good, peace loving citizens of Panchkula had heaved a sigh of relief as that meant they could resume their morning walks after a gap of almost a week.

That it took a few people to become dead bodies is often a price you have to pay to keep traffic flowing normally in a democracy. A senior BJP leader had explained that while 38 people had been killed, not a single citizen died. That was so heart warming. No one wants a citizen dead, or miss a morning walk.

The roads of Patiala are now under the threat of being clogged. The state is worried because it is answerable to the court which is worried because it wants to ensure that a Panchkula like situation should not emerge.

This is Democracy 3.0. People asking the state to fulfil its promises seen as posing a threat to our democracy. Police going out of its way to defend our democracy. Judiciary being proactively concerned about my right to go about my normal life in a city – shopping, visiting a mall, catching a movie, picking up my daughter from school, visiting the Dukh Nivaran Sahib in the evening. 

Panchkula has set an example. Patiala is learning fast. Your city can be the next one.

Farmers can always keep their issue alive by hanging themselves to death. € 

(Kamjaat Singh is an academic activist who also dabbles in journalism and writes under a pseudonym, with interests covering media, communications, academics, law, cinema and life. Kamjaat Singh, who will be regularly writing for Punjab Today, can be reached at kamjaatsingh@gmail.com.)

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Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

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