The Uttar Pradesh Police has charged RLD leader Jayant Chaudhary and over 5,000 others who attended a major farmers' meeting in Aligarh district two days ago under the Epidemic Diseases Act for allegedly violating COVID-19 protocols.
The FIR, lodged around 9:30 pm on Tuesday, names only 22 individuals, including Jayant Chaudhary, while the others are unnamed.
Around five to six thousand people were attending the farmers' mahapanchayat in protest against three new central farm laws where RLD leader Jayant Chaudhary also came and support raised for (BKU leader) Rakesh Tikait in the event presided by Chaudhary Raj Singh, the FIR stated.
The event was held amid COVID-19 pandemic with participants in attendance without face masks, not adhering to social distancing rules and in violation of CrPC 144 orders, it added.
Attaching a news report about the FIR on around 5,000 people, Mr Chaudhary on Thursday morning tweeted, Baba can tell us when and where should I come to be arrested, in a veiled reference to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
The FIR has been lodged under Indian Penal Code sections sections 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), 269 (unlawfully or negligently spreading infection of any disease dangerous to life), 270 (malignant act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) and under section 3 of the Epidemic Diseases Act.
Those booked have also been charged with rioting under section 147 of the IPC, the FIR lodged over complaint by a local sub-inspector at the Gonda police station in Aligarh stated.
The Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) has been holding a series of meetings with the farmers in UP and is scheduled to have such events till February end in a bid to reach out to the people over the three contentious central agri-marketing laws enacted last September.
Thousands of farmers are encamped at Delhi's border points at Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur since November end with a demand that the Centre repeal these laws and make a new one to guarantee minimum support price for crops.
The government, which has held 11 rounds of talks with the protesting farmers unions, has maintained the laws are pro-farmer.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)