In September of 2020, the Indian Parliament passed three farm acts that farmers considered detrimental to their livelihood. Farmer unions and their representatives then proceeded to demand that they be repelled and started protests against the acts.
On November 26, more than 3,000 farmers set up bases at the Singhu border between Delhi and Haryana to protest against the new farm bills that are described as "anti-farmer laws" by many farmer unions. But the protests have not been without issues.
To protect themselves and monitor the crowds, farmer unions have started installing CCTV cameras, according to The Indian Express. These cameras are allegedly quite high-tech offering 360º view and face recognition, according to The Quint.
“These cameras give us a bird’s eye view of the protest since there are so many people coming in now. We come to know of incidents where people with ulterior motives try to create problems. This way, we can keep a record of what is happening and counter any narrative to blame us for any anti-social activity,” Gurdeep Singh of Sanyukt Kisan Morcha, who manages the CCTV department, told The Indian Express.
Other farmers have even installed very high-tech cameras. “All four high-resolution CCTV cameras have night vision and can record clear footage up to a distance of 80 feet," told The Times of India farmer Govind Katara who also installed his own set of cameras.
For now, the locations of most of the cameras remain a secret. “Our focus is to keep a record of all those places where a large crowd gathers, since the possibility of someone creating a problem in a gathering is high,” added Gurdeep.
The cameras are monitored by 15 volunteers in total with two volunteers managing the cameras at a time. The devices were purchased with funds pooled by the protesting farmers as well as donations.
It was further reported that Katara has become famous for his use of cameras with many villagers visiting him to find out how they can install their own. Will the cameras keep protesters safe? Time will tell.